Na­tional Elec­tric­ity Plan vis-à-vis DISCOMs’ In­ef­fi­cien­cies

Consumer Voice - - Feature -

The draft of the Na­tional Elec­tric­ity Plan (NEP) re­leased in 2016 presents a pleas­ant pic-ture of India’s power sce­nario. Peak-load deficit, which was 9.3 per cent in 2013, has fallen to a mere 3.2 per cent, and as per the es­ti­mates it will dis­ap­pear soon. Sim­i­larly, en­ergy-de­mand deficit has fallen from 9 per cent to 2 per cent. These dra­matic im­prove­ments have taken place in times when plant-load fac­tor of coal power plants has fallen from 70 per cent to 62 per cent in last four years. How­ever, keep­ing in mind the ground re­al­ity of fre­quent brownouts and black­outs, we do have a con­tin­u­ing power cri­sis. This raises doubt about the es­ti­mat­ing of these twin deficits – namely peak-load deficit and en­er­gy­de­mand deficit. If they are cred­i­ble es­ti­mates, and there is more than ad­e­quate pow­er­gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity, why can’t the elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies of India (DISCOMs) sup­ply power with no in­ter­rup­tion 24 hours a day, as it hap­pens in de­vel­oped coun­tries? This nat­u­rally puts a ques­tion mark on the tech­ni­cal and man­age­rial com­pe­tence of our DISCOMs. NEP has rec­om­mended a so­lar en­ergy tar­get of 100,000 MW by 2022. Out of this, 40,000 MW will be from rooftop pho­to­voltaic sys­tems (RTPVs). Yet, de­spite all the ef­forts of the min­istry of re­new­able en­ergy, as of March 2017 only one GW (1,000 MW) of RTPV has been in­stalled even when util­ity-scale so­lar in­stal­la­tion has ex­ceeded 11 GW.

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