Ministry of Power, Niti Aayog, Rockefeller and Smart Power India launched the Electricity Access in India Distribution Utilities Report on 28th October 2020. Based on initial survey conducted across 10 states representing about 65% of the total rural population of India and with a sample size of more than 25,000, including households, commercial enterprises and institutions the report assesses 25 distribution utilities.
Aimed at capturing insights from both the demand (electricity customers) as well as supply side (electricity distribution utilities), the report seeks to Evaluate the status of electricity access in India across these states and distribution utilities along all dimensions that constitute meaningful access, Benchmark utilities’ capacity to provide electricity access and identify the drivers of sustainable access, Develop recommendations for enhancing sustainable electricity access.
During the launch, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said, ‘The report highlights the benefits of government-led schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which have been well received in rural as well as urban areas.’ He advised Rockefeller foundation to focus on solving issues highlighted in the report in close partnership with the Ministry of Power, and highlighted three key areas: learnings from DBT schemes in Punjab; tariff simplification and rationalization; and best practices from high-performing Indian discoms.
He emphasized that the key recommendations provided in the report in the areas of policy and regulation, process improvement, infrastructure and capacity-building of utilities would be gainfully utilized for improving the power distribution sector.
He added, ‘Some of the recommendations––such as prioritizing the release of new connections for non-household customers; transfer of subsidies or other benefits directly into a customer’s account; enhanced technology-driven customer service; ensuring 100% metering of customers; segregation of feeder lines––are ongoing programmes of the government, but we would like the concerned ministry to expedite these to maximize the benefits.’