Clearing The Dust Over Uttar Pradesh’s Ongoing Power Woes, the URJA Mobile App Reveals The Harsh Reality

Clearing The Dust Over Uttar Pradesh’s Ongoing Power Woes, the URJA Mobile App Reveals The Harsh Reality

Despite major reforms that have been ushered in the state’s power sector by the Modi-led government, power woes in Uttar Pradesh have been far from over. The people of the state continue to face long and sporadic power cuts in the scorching summer heat.

State authorities are projecting “zero shortages” and the same is evident from the Mobile Application—Vidyut Pravah that has been developed by the Union power ministry under Cabinet minister Piyush Goyal.

The Vidyut Pravah Mobile App —- that gives a complete online account of the demand/supply of power in every state, availability/ price of power on exchanges and the amount of power purchased/shortages prevailing in every state— on most days show zero shortages in Uttar Pradesh and accordingly no power purchases being undertaken by the state authorities. Importantly, this data on shortages in the state on the Vidyut Pravah App is provided by the state authorities themselves.

So the million-dollar question that arises here is that if Uttar Pradesh is showing zero power shortages on this App, why is the public complaining of long power cuts.

Accordingly, EnergyInfraPost.com decided to do a reality check of the situation prevailing on ground in Uttar Pradesh’s power sector.

Witness what the Central Govt has done for the state of Uttar Pradesh:

  • In June 2014, as many as four thermal plants in UP with a capacity of 8800 mw had critical coal stock of less than 7 days. Today no single plant faces any coal shortage, not only in the state, but in the entire country.
  • In a bid to resolve coal shortages in the state, the Central government allotted the Saharpur-Jamarpani coal mine in Jharkhand to UP. The extractable coal reserves of 52.4 cr tonnes in this mine is equivalent to Coal India’s yearly production of 53.9 cr tonnes during 2015-16. This apart other coal mines in Odisha will be supplying coal to UP’s power projects.
  • Thermal capacity of 2980 mw has been added in the state in the past two years and 2640 mw is expected to be added by July- August 2016
  • Central allocation of power to UP increased by 7%.
  • Supply of power has increased considerably
  • To improve financial health of state power DISCOMs, the Centre has facilitated UP to join UDAY
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So, from resolving coal shortages and increasing power generation in the state to distributing solar pumps for agricultural use to farmers coupled with the impetus imparted to the energy efficiency program (through distribution of LED bulbs), the Modi-government under its power, coal, RE and mines minister Piyush Goyal has succeeded in ushering major reforms in the power sector of Uttar Pradesh, also one of India’s largest state.

We then checked for data available on the Centre’s Vidyut Pravah Mobile Application. This Mobile App —that gives a complete online account of the demand/supply of power in every state, availability/ price of power on exchanges and the amount of power purchased/shortages prevailing in every state— showed zero shortages in Uttar Pradesh on many days and accordingly no power purchases by the state. Importantly, this data on Vidyut Pravah App is provided by the state authorities themselves.

So the million-dollar question that arises here is that if Uttar Pradesh is showing zero power shortages on this App, why is the public complaining of long power cuts.

Ultimately, who is to be blamed?….….The Centre that has indeed done what it could do as a facilitator of power reforms in the state or the Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party government ruling the state of Uttar Pradesh.

On its part, no clear cut answers are being made available by UP state authorities that continue to blame the Centre for the poor power supply position in Uttar Pradesh.

We then cross checked facts from another recently launched Central Mobile Application (URJA) and the blame-game was finally put to rest.

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URJA or the Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan enhances the consumer connect with power distribution companies as it tracks electricity situation across the 1,222 towns in India and gives a reality check on minutest details such as the Average number and duration of power cuts; loss of power/theft; pending consumer complains etc.

The URJA App gave us the ground reality/ shortage of power as it automatically collects information from the feeder.

Depicting the Centre’s claims and transparent style of functioning, the URJA app became an eye opener and showed that Uttar Pradesh has 4 times the hours of power cuts and 3.5 times the number of power cuts as compared to India.

That’s not all. Uttar Pradesh has 50% more loss of power and theft as compared to the rest of the nation (loss of power and theft are the two major reasons for power cuts). It also showed that UP has 3 times the national average of consumer complaints pending

After tracking data on URJA app for several days in a row, it became unambiguous that Uttar Pradesh under the SP government has not been purchasing electricity despite its availability at the power exchanges at rates as low as Rs 2.44 a unit.

Vidyut Pravah Shows zero shortage in state because that data is provided by the UP government.

Our Findings: Sorry Mr Chief Minister but even though your claims of “zero power shortages” in Uttar Pradesh comes ahead of the state’s forthcoming assembly elections, we have no choice but to believe the situation prevailing on ground. There is no denying the fact that the Centre has resolved most issues facing the state’s electricity sector. As per the data given by a senior state government official, who seeking anonymity, said that more than one crore LED bulbs distributed till date under the Centre’s UJALA scheme has resulted in the savings on consumer bills by over Rs 550 crore. Can the Centre still be held responsible for the state’s power woes?

Anupama Airy
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Anupama Airy

Founder and Editor at EnergyInfraPost
Independent Journalist and Energy Expert.​ (Worked with leading mainline financial and national daily for 23 years.​)​ Also, Guest Contributor with busines​sinsider.in
Currently, Writing a Book for Penguin India Titled Greased Pole:How Politics and Lobbying Stifled India’s Energy Dreams. The author can be reached on anupama.airy@gmail.com (9810661825)​
Anupama Airy
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