Within days of his party–the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) forming a new government in Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal has set an agenda to tackle the messed up power sector in India’s largest state.
“We have to bring an Urja Kranti in Uttar Pradesh and we will work together to achieve it”, Minister Goyal said after chairing a meeting on Monday with the Minister of Energy, Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Shrikant Sharma and other senior officers of the State Power Department.
The marathon meeting between Goyal, Sharma and senior brass of the power ministry along with senior state power department and Central PSU officials lasted over 3 hours. During the meeting, minister Goyal focused on chalking out a roadmap for revamping the State Power sector in the next 24 months.
Taking a review of the ground level situation of the power sector in the State, Mr Goyal studied facts and figures presented by the State officials, asked pin pointed questions to understand the situation and identified the key challenges and corresponding steps that both the Governments would require to take in the near future to achieve the aim of 24×7 Affordable Quality Power for All in the State.
Goyal made his priorities very clear from the very beginning when he stated that the policy of the new UP Government should be of zero tolerance towards corruption and of eliminating power theft through strict monitoring so as to make the power sector efficient.
This in turn, would bring down the power generation costs and benefit the consumers by reducing their electricity bills ultimately. The Minister gave strict instructions to systemize speedy implementation of ground level electrification so that the people should witness actual work being taking place without the incidence of corruption anywhere.
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 27, 2017
Major decisions that were taken during the meeting included giving free electricity connections to the urban and rural BPL households and to APL households at reasonable EMIs by giving 100% financing option.
These electricity connections would be given without any discrimination on caste or religious lines and would be based on the latest Socio-Economic Census data.
Further, an amnesty scheme would be given to all those household and commercial connections that want to take legal electricity connections.
— Shrikant Sharma (@ptshrikant) March 27, 2017
There would be a State-wide campaign against power theft, along with a drive to sensitize all the stakeholders to shun corruption and bring in honesty in the sector, the Minister added.
Other important decisions that were taken during the meeting were giving free electricity connections to urban BPL under IPDS scheme, making 100% feeder separation and smart metering expeditiously, waving off of interests on electricity dues and provision of option of EMIs to pay off the principal amounts, bringing in zero government official discretion and transparent monitoring to prevent harassment to the consumers at the hands of field officers.
Other initiatives include designating State Power official at each industrial feeder level who would be responsible for monitoring the consumption, billing, collection and ensuring 24×7 reliable quality power to the industry, reviewing and simplifying the tariff order to bring lower tariffs across the value chain, to remove bottlenecks in the intra State power transmission network so as to meet the power demand during this summer season.
Further, the Minister directed the officials of the power ministry to conduct weekly ground level review of the progress of projects being implemented in the State, with the State power department officers in Lucknow from next month onwards.
— Shrikant Sharma (@ptshrikant) March 27, 2017
The Minister also directed the State Power officers to devise a strategy to replace all the old thermal power plants in the state with Super Critical Power Plants and to engage in 100% coal linkage swap so as to bring down the power costs for the common man.
In the area of achieving Energy Efficiency in State power sector, Mr Goyal directed the State power department to take steps like replacing all agricultural pump sets older than 10 years across the State with energy efficient pumps having a smart control panel; replacing street lights across all municipalities in the State with LED bulbs; making affordable energy efficient fans and tube lights freely available to the people.
The Minister directed EESL and the 4 DISCOMs in the State to make 10 crore LED bulbs freely available under UJALA scheme and increase awareness among the common people for the same.
State power minister Shrikant Sharma assured the Union Minister that the State power department officers would work in cohesion with the Union Power Ministry to implement all the decisions taken today within the stipulated time.
He informed that the State power department is preparing a road map to ensure 24×7 Affordable Quality Power for all Rural and Urban Households by October 2018. It was also decided in the meeting that the State of UP would sign the “Power for All” document with the Centre by mid-April, 2017.
The meeting was attended by Sanjay Agrawal, Principal Secretary (Energy), Government of U.P. and senior officers of the Ministry of Power, EESL, REC, NTPC, POWERGRID and PFC.
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