In a three-hour meeting between Union power minister Piyush Goyal and UP energy minister Shrikant Sharma on Monday, it was decided that all Below Poverty Line (BPL) households will be given free electricity connections.
Above Poverty Line (APL) households will be provided reasonable EMIs and 100% financing to get power connections. “We have to bring an Urja Kranti in UP and we will work together to achieve it,” Goyal said. It was also decided to extend an amnesty scheme to those who want to shift to legal connections.
The meeting looked at ways to reduce power thefts in the state, which has one of the most indebted distribution companies. As of January 2016, debts for UP state discoms stood at ₹53,000 crore. While smart metering will be introduced, interest waiver and EMI options for pending electricity dues will be extended.
“The electricity connections will be given without any discrimination on caste or religious lines and will be based on the latest Socio-Economic Census data,” said a statement from the Union power ministry.
Along with electrification, the meeting also discussed ways of energy efficiency — agricultural pumps older than 10 years will be replaced, LED bulbs will be used for street lighting across all municipalities and old thermal plants will be replaced with energy efficient ones.
All these projects will be monitored by power ministry officials in association with the state government. Goyal’s ministry will monitor weekly reviews from its on-ground team. In addition to this, the central and state power ministries will work on a roadmap to provide affordable 24x7 power to all in UP by October 2018.