This is the first time that the country has declared a year of no shortage though many regions have had power surplus for shorter periods.
India has, for the first time in history, declared that it will not have a power deficit this year, a situation officials say is an outcome of the current government's initiatives to resolve burning issues like fuel scarcity. The country will have a surplus of 3.1% during peak hours and 1.1% during non-peak hours during 2016-17, latest data from the Central Electricity Authority shows.
This is the first time that the country has declared a year of no shortage though many regions have had power surplus for shorter periods. In 2015-16, the peak hour deficit stood at -3.2% while non-peak hour deficit was at -2.1%. The deficit was as high as 13% about a decade ago.
The data, based on gap between demand raised and demand met, shows that June onwards the country will have more electricity than required. Half of the states will be surplus, while others may face shortage in varying degrees.
The NDA government says power surplus scenario as one of its big achievements. Coal output, which was stagnant for years, has increased significantly, helping many stranded power plants start generating electricity. The government has also launched a high-profile scheme to reform state distribution companies, which are a vital link between power plants and customers.
Experts said that the surplus power situation is an average for the entire country although some regions would still face a small deficit. Also, the surplus indicates that the power demanded by state utilities is being met.
It hides the fact that these state utilities often choose to black out areas to reduce their losses, or due to technical failure. Congress leaders also seek credit for increased supply.
CEA data also shows that states in southern India will have surplus power to the tune of 3.3% after being power starved for almost a decade. The data suggests that new plants of nearly 2,000 MW are likely to get commissioned in the southern region.
Western India will have surplus electricity at 6.9%. Eastern region will have the maximum shortage of 10.3% and northeastern region at 8.3%. The northern states will have a deficit of 1.8% during the year.
Power minister Piyush Goyal has said that highest ever conventional power capacity of 46,453 MW has been added during two years of his tenure, about 11,000 MW of gas plants have been revived and coal shortages to power plants removed.
The government has launched revival scheme for distribution companies and ten states have joined it. The NDA government has promised to electrify all villages by 2018 and provide 24x7 power supply for which it has signed specific action plans with 21 states.
It aims to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. Scindia said the surplus position is misleading. The fact is that very few new Power Purchase Agreements are signed by distribution companies, generation companies are powering down production, load shedding is still rampant, power shortages in cities and villages is all pervasive. He said the UPA government had improved the grid and launched schemes that had been renamed.