Of 34 stressed power projects totaling 40.13 gigawatt (GW), 17 with a combined 20.29 GW capacity have been resolved and seven projects accounting for 9.31 GW are at various stages of resolution.
“10 projects with a total capacity of 10,530 MW are at very initial stage of construction and are totally stalled. Such projects have either been ordered to be liquidated or heading towards liquidation,” according to year-end review of union power ministry.
This comes in the backdrop of India’s electricity demand having picked up after the dip during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. India recorded its highest ever electricity demand of 200.57 gigawatt GW on 7 July, even as the revised coal stocking norms in thermal power projects were issued in the backdrop of fuel stocks depleting to 7.23 million tonnes (mt) on 8 October. India’s power plants burn around 1.85-1.87 mt of coal every day to generate electricity.
India’s electricity availability has increased to 22 hours in rural areas and 23.5 hours in urban areas, according to union power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh. As part of its energy transition efforts, India is also working towards electrification of economy by developing action plans for greening of electricity.
“In 2021, the power demand in India surpassed 2019 levels by around 5% with an increased share of coal in the generation mix. The reopening of the economy after the second wave of Covid-19 and addition of millions of new electricity connections this year have been driving factors behind this increase in power demand,” according to EY.
Also, over five lakh smart meters were installed in Andaman Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, according to years end review of union power ministry. There is a compulsory prepaid and smart metering component under the marquee power discom reform scheme, to be implemented across the power distribution chain, including in about 250 million households.
“The Ministry of Power in the current year has undertaken an array of reforms. Union Minister for Power and NRE Shri R.K Singh highlighting the reforms said that we have put in place rules and procedures for ease of doing business and ease of living. As a result of the reforms, power sector is poised for greater growth and more reforms are on the anvil in the next year, he remarked,” the review said.
“Shri Singh mentioned that the power sector has shown strong growth in demand in 2021 as it is 14 percent higher than in the previous year, this is indicative of the fact that our economy is recovering and the 28 million new consumers we have added are adding more appliances,” the review added.
This comes in the backdrop of the government rolling out the marquee power discom reform scheme, wherein the Centre’ share will be ₹97,631 crore. The scheme aims at reducing the AT&C loss to 12-15% and eliminating ACS-ARR gap at pan India level by FY 2024-25 with the funds to be released to discoms subject to them meeting reform-related milestones.
“Further, Revamped Reforms Based and Results Linked Distribution Sector Scheme has been approved by Ministry of Power in July 2021 with an outlay of Rs. 3,03,758 crore over a period of five years from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26 for providing conditional financial assistance for supporting DISCOMs to undertake reforms and improve performance in a time-bound manner,” the review said.