[Answered] Given the country’s development aspirations, India’s power demand is set to rise substantially and become more variable. There is an urgent need to take steps for the long-term resilience of India’s power sector. Highlight the factors affecting power sector of India and suggest some measures to solve the issues.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some factors related to power shortage.  Write some measures to address these challenges.
Conclusion: Give a way forward.

India’s power sector is one of the key sectors which form the foundation of the growth of the country. Despite the fact that India has surplus energy, it is facing huge problems which serve as an obstacle for supplying electricity to the people.

Factors affecting the power sector:

  • Fuel Shortage: Coal supply is limited in India, which leads to increased dependence on imported coal with the cascading result of high-power generation costs.
  • Transmission & Distribution Losses: India’s aggregate technical and commercial losses average about 32% of electricity which is very high as compared to those of the developed countries (6-11%).
  • Financial Health of Discoms: The aggregate losses of discoms stand at 21 per cent (2019-20). These losses are also the reason for discoms not being able to pay the generators on time, resulting in payment delays to Coal India, which, in turn, is reluctant to supply coal on request.
  • A disproportionate share of generation comes from older inefficient plants, while the newer and efficient ones remain idle in the desire of favourable coal supply contracts or power purchase agreements.

Measures:

  • Creation of an enabling ecosystem is required for efficient working of power plants. Revisiting fuel allocation and supporting the priority dispatch of efficient plants could help India in reducing coal demand by up to 6 per cent of annual requirement.
  • There is need to enable discoms to undertake smart assessment and management of demand and electricity regulators should be empowered to help bring down discom losses.
  • Introducing time-of-day pricing and promoting efficient consumption behaviour may help in reducing peak demand and avoid panic buying in the market.
  • should try to bring down the transmission losses by providing better infrastructure and technological efforts. Old plants should be shut and replaced with new.
  • There is a strong need to push for wider-scale implementation of public private partnership As the private sector has been playing a key role in generating power, it will help in bridging the energy deficit of the country.

The ongoing initiatives like smart meters and network strengthening, empowering regulators are critical to infuse payment discipline across the supply chain and to keep cost recovery as a key metric. Increasing climatic and geopolitical uncertainties create the need to become more efficient in the way we generate, distribute and consume energy.

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