We will turn consumers into ‘prosumers’, says union power minister at 2-day energy conference
To reduce dependency on non-renewable energies and promote self-sustaining ones, the government will soon aim to turn energy consumers into ‘prosumers’, said Union Minister for Power and Energy,R K Singh at a media briefing following the inauguration of a conference on power and new and renewable energy in Gujarat’s Kevadia town on Friday. “Prosumers” will be those who generate energy from renewable sources and their interests will be protected by a slew of imminent regulations. The two-day conference is the first of its kind to be held, after the nation achieved near-universal household electrification under the Saubhagya scheme, wherein 26.6 million households were connected in a record time of under two years. The power and energy ministers and secretaries from all states and union territories are participants.
“We are going to come out with regulations which lay down the rights of consumers and those of ‘prosumers’,” Singh said. “Earlier, there were only consumers of electricity. Now there will be “prosumers”, who produce energy, consume it and take additional requirements from the grid. We want everyone to be a ‘prosumer’.
The Union Minister also told his state counterparts to clear the dues of power producers (including solar and wind energy) through the distribution companies (Discoms) of each state.
“Today, the outstanding dues for generating companies amounts to Rs 59,000 crore. If the ease of doing business, the sanctity of contracts and the certainty of payments are assured, players will set up generation units,” he said.
Both the Centre and states are also aiming at pre-paid smart cards for electricity consumers within the next three years. “Some states want to do it within a year. But overall, we have set a target of three years to roll this out across the country,” Singh said, pointing out the benefits of smart cards for all stake-holders including discoms, poor consumers and generating companies.
On the concept of “one-nation, one-tariff,” the union power minister said that the idea has been brought to the attention of the government but that it is yet to be studied. “We have different forms of generation, gas, hydro, coal, renewable and a pooled power cost. Therefore, such ideas need to be examined.”
Singh also said that the ongoing conference will see discussions on the viability of systems and structures and on how to make them sustainable. “The end result is going to be a power system which is viable, sustainable, provides supply round the clock, offers ease of doing business and provides the consumer a choice to reduce the price of electricity. This is our objective and we will achieve it,” Singh said.
The minister also noted that climate change had become a major concern the world over and that India is committed to fight it in every possible way. Talking of climate change, the Minister said that it has become a major concern world over and India is committed to fight climate change in every possible way. Mentioning KUSUM scheme (what is this scheme?), he said that it would enable farming pumps to run on solar energy in the coming years.
“This will not only reduce the states’ burden of subsidies but also benefit farmers. They will be incentivized to use groundwater judiciously, save electricity and earn money through the sale of the spare electricity to the government,” Singh added.