Power hungry? Soon you may be able to get 24X7 power supply — by just paying double the regular tariff.
The government is working on a policy to develop energy-efficient “smart” electricity grids with meters, which will effectively allow for dual-pricing.
A senior government official told HT that people who want assured uninterrupted power supply may have to pay a premium of 50% to 100% over and above the normal rate. “Basically, the rates will vary from state to state, but they might have to pay 50-100% more,” the official said.
“The grid will allow the load of a consumer to be split into ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ categories,” the official said, adding the government could come up with guidelines in the next few months.
Last December, power minister Piyush Goyal had said the government was aiming to provide 24x7 power to all by 2019, which would require an investment of $400 billion (Rs 24 lakh crore). Of this, $50 billion would be for transmission and distribution. The government is also looking to ramp up the annual coal output to 1 billion tonnes and solar power output to 100 gigawatt, the minister had said.
“If the government is really serious about this, it is a game-changer,” said Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers India. “But the government needs two basic things in place — an identified set of buyers and properly modelled finances. If the government cannot identify buyers, banks will be unwilling to lend money, and the government will itself have to fund, effectively subsidising the scheme.”
The smart grid will also have more efficient gas-insulated switchgear, which will occupy less space than a typical sub-station. The grid will incentivise reduction of load when alternative sources such as solar power become available. Such rationalisation will ensure there is power constantly flowing through the transmission lines, the official said.
The Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to the government’s flagship 100 smart cities project, for which the government has earmarked Rs 48,000 crore. During the day, Goyal met Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and other government officials regarding the setting up of a smart grid in the proposed smart city in Gurgaon.