A proposal for providing 24X7 electricity to all from October 2018, just a few months prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will be put to the state cabinet for approval at its very first meeting that chief minister Yogi Adityanath is expected to convene very soon.
The energy department is preparing a proposal in this regard.
The BJP had alleged discrimination in power distribution in Uttar Pradesh during rallies for the recently concluded assembly election.
The UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (UPRVUNL), the UP Transmission Corporation Ltd (UPPTCL) and the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), will also make a presentation before the cabinet, explaining their preparedness and planning for the daunting task.
These three government-owned corporations are responsible for generating, transmitting and distributing electricity.
Energy minister Srikant Sharma told officers about the new government’s priority immediately after he took charge and directed them to make a proposal for the cabinet in keeping with the party’s pre-poll promise.
Sharma and principal secretary Sanjay Agrawal also held a meeting with union power minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi on Monday to discuss the 24x7 power issue and free power connections to below poverty line consumers in UP.
The UP government is also preparing to sign the much-delayed power for all agreement with the Centre by April 15.
Signing the agreement is necessary to get financial assistance to push the power for all programme in the state.
Uttar Pradesh is said to be the only state that has not signed the agreement with the Centre yet. The Modi government had announced its plan in 2014 for 24x7 power by 2018-19.
Sources said the Akhilesh Yadav government, which was trying on its own to increase power supply hours in the state, had avoided signing the agreement lest the Modi government should take credit in the assembly election.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) government had promised to supply 22-24 hours of power in cities and 18 hours in villages from October 2016, keeping an eye on the assembly polls and it left no stone unturned to keep the promise. “We are able to supply power as per the schedule even after the polls are over,” claimed an official.
The power demand in UP in 2018-19, according to the 19th Electricity Survey of India may be as big as 27,832 MW which will be around 10,000 MW more than today’s demand. But meeting the demand, as sources pointed, might not be a big problem going by the fact that new power plants are coming up in the state one after another. “To be fair with the previous SP and BSP governments, more than 10,000 MW new power capacity has been created because of a number of power generating plants having come up during the period and many more are in the pipe line,” said a senior official.
The real challenge that the new government is all set to face in this regard will be reducing rampant line losses (read theft), increasing revenue collection, checking vertical corruption and scripting a turnaround of the cash-starved UPPCL, enabling it to reimburse power purchase bills regularly. “Similarly, metering all around 70 lakh unmetered rural connections and giving new electricity connections to lakhs of unelectrified households will be an equally tough job,” said sources, adding “More than 60% of the total households in UP are unelectrifid as per the 2011 Census.”