Weekly Current Affairs

Many don’t have power in ‘power-surplus India’ [Energy]

  • In India, 300 million people don’t have access to electricity, power cuts are rampant and per capita power consumption is significantly lower than the world average.
  • In sharp contrast to this, the Power Ministry says India is power-surplus.
  • “India is likely to experience the energy surplus of 1.1 per cent in 2016-17,” says the Load Generation and Balance Report (LGBR) 2016-17 of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), which functions under the Power Ministry.
  • Surplus or deficit is determined by calculating the difference between the demand for power and availability. It is the definition of “demand” that lies at the base of this paradox.
  • While calculating power demand, only people who are connected to the grid and have access to electricity at present are taken into consideration.
  • The “real demand” that encompasses all citizens will be known only when India achieves goal of ‘Power for All’, towards which government is actively working.
  • Transmission and distribution constraints are also responsible for power cuts. The government launched the Ujjawal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in November 2015. By operational and financial turnaround of discoms, UDAY is expected to facilitate reliable, adequate and sufficient power supply to consumers, among other things.
  • The state of power in the country is best captured by looking at the per capita power consumption. On an average, in 2015-16, the per capita consumption in India was 1,070 kWh, less than the world average of 3,026 kWh, as per data from the International Energy Agency. It is also the lowest among BRICS nations.
  • Six States — Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Sikkim, Mizoram, Tripura — will be power-surplus in 2016-17 but the per capita availability in the States is lower than the national average.
  • Overall, as per LGBR, 17 States will have power-surplus in 2016-17.
  • Power demand for India grew by 6.6 per cent in 2014-15 and 4.2 per cent in 2015- 16.
  • This is indicative of more people getting connected to the grid.