Interview

Power surplus is preposterous: ISGF

It is a pity that we are still muddled in the policy logjam that is not letting people have access to cheap grid power.
Reji Kumar Pillai, President, India Smart Grid Forum
  India is expected to have power supply surplus in financial year 2016-17. Commenting on the same, Reji Kumar Pillai, President of India Smart Grid Forum said, “Depends on whose lens you are looking at it. In a country where half the population lives in darkness and the per capita consumption of electricity is well below one-third of world average, we are bragging about surplus in power is preposterous.”
He continues by saying, “If you are looking with the lens of power producers with stranded assets, yes, there are no buyers for his electricity as buyers have no money. But if you are looking with the lens of an average customer in any part of India – be it Gurgaon or a remote village in UP or AP or any other state, it is a different picture. They cannot survive without DG sets, inverters or kerosene lamps. And all these standby measures cost Rs 15/kWh or more whereas the stranded generation assets can produce electricity well below Rs 5/kWh. “It is a pity that we are still muddled in the policy logjam that is not letting people have access to cheap grid power and have to resort to self-generation or standby arrangements. We can truly say that we are power surplus when there is negative growth in the sale of DG sets and inverters; and our per capita consumption is at least equivalent to world average,” he adds.     According to Pillai, Prayas – the NGO working in power sector, has made an effort called ‘Electricity Supply Monitoring Initiative’ (ESMI) by installing smart voltage meters at customer premises in 500 towns across 7 states. These smart voltage meters with a GPRS SIM send the electricity supply interruptions and voltage quality to the Prayas computer in Pune. So whenever there is a power cut in any of those locations, it is recorded with accurate time of outage and supply restoration.

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