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Interview: Our power reforms have seen a 25% increase in consumption, says RK Singh

Interview: Our power reforms have seen a 25% increase in consumption, says RK Singh

Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh has asserted that the government’s efforts to accelerate power distribution and transmission have transformed the standard of living in small towns and villages. For example, people got relief from pollution due to round-the-clock power diesel generators. in an exclusive interview with business LineSingh said that on June 10, India’s power demand met a record 211.86 gigawatts (GW) during the day, which is a testament to the efforts of the Ministry of Power. Part:

How do you analyze India’s record power consumption?

Demand grew by 25 per cent in one year, while the economy grew by 8 per cent. The record power consumption is a fair indication of the work done by the Ministry of Power. We made sure there was enough power and made sure the system was strong enough to carry it.

It happened because we worked on it. First, we added a capacity of 1,67,000 MW. We are now shifting 1,12,000 MW from one corner to another in India. This happened because we spent over Rs 2 lakh crore on strengthening distribution. We added about 2,950 new sub-stations, upgraded about 3,900 old sub-stations. 7.5 lakh circuit kilometers of low tension lines and 2.5 lakh circuit kilometers of high tension lines and 7.50 lakh transformers have been added. We have connected every house, village or village in India. We added 2.86 crore houses. In 2015, the average electricity availability in rural areas at the national level was about 12.5 hours. Today is 22.5 hours and we are close to taking it to 24 hours. I want diesel generators to become history. It is almost history, even in Bihar, from where I come. Cultural change has come with people getting relief from DG sets.

How has the Revamped Distribution Area Scheme (RDSS) performed?

The biggest thing about RDSS is that all the states and their discoms have agreed to do it. This did not happen in the past. They agreed to give a trajectory for damage reduction and this is supported by the state cabinet. So states have committed to reducing their AT&C losses and the ACS-ARS gap. They have also committed to clear all dues, pay subsidy on time, commit to tariff approval date and issue tariff orders in time. All correcting work will be done in a timely manner. These are the commitments that we were pressurizing the states to do. The accounts will be published quarterly.

In addition, we have reduced the late payment surcharge, and at the same time strengthened the payment security mechanism. We have already approved RDSS for about 13 states and others are in process. I said that we will not move forward until the state cabinet approves it. The key point here is to reduce AT&C losses and strengthen the system.

How is the campaign to install smart meters progressing?

Smart prepaid meter needs software. In the earlier bids, some companies did not have the requisite software and had bid. Now, I have put the bids on hold. We have set up a test bed in Bengaluru to check the meters. I said that any company that wants to bid for smart prepaid meters has to first install the system on the test bed and pass it. The working of the meter should be fully automatic, and without human intervention. So if the money runs out, the meter should be turned off. We’ve told companies that new bids will come after your meters are tested and qualified. Three companies have passed, two have failed (going for re-testing) and four are under test. Right now, we can test five companies per week, and from next week we will increase that to 17 per week. This is to check automatic disconnection, automatic re-connection on recharge without any gap and recharge through mobile. Once I have 7-8 qualified firms, we will have tender so that there is enough competition.

What next steps can we expect on Green Energy Open Access?

We have brought rules. Now MNRE will make the list of big corporate houses and consumers. We would urge them to transfer their thermal RE through green open access. I would also recommend giving them a date to go green. We will also identify those industries which have huge captive coal potential. I would write to industries that have great thermal potential for captives, that they can start blending with RE, and the second step would be to switch thermals to green.

What are your plans on Green Hydrogen?

The government has started the mission. We have also discussed how companies using hydrogen from fossil fuels can be asked to transition to green hydrogen. Now it will be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval.

Look, we have a natural advantage of having bigger RE capacity. We have land, technology and manpower. It is cheaper than other countries. So green hydrogen will be cheaper here. Manufacturing of electrolysers has started in India as we have made it clear that we will give priority to Made in India. We will be the largest market globally. Maybe in the next 4-5 years we will put up a barrier so that if you make electrolysers here, you will benefit. It is very clear. We are also considering the PLI scheme for electrolysers.

Published on

23 June 2022

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Interview: Our power reforms have seen a 25% increase in consumption, says RK Singh

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