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Home News Power Sector News Government vows to offer 24X7 power for all, fine firms for blackouts from April 2019

Government vows to offer 24X7 power for all, fine firms for blackouts from April 2019

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 Setting an ambitious target of uninterrupted power for all, the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to fine electricity distributors from April 2019 for power cuts deemed avoidable and to make it mandatory for the companies to install prepaid or smart meters to prevent electricity theft.

Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh has said that 24x7 power is a fundamental right of every citizen of the country and that all states would have to ensure it by March 2019.

The government launched a $2.3 billion project in September to provide the whole population with power by the end of 2018.

The Centre also plans to do away with human interface in the entire power distribution system by March 2019 to minimise losses suffered by distribution companies and make them viable.

The Union and state governments have agreed to implement the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme in the electricity sector for better targeting of subsidies.

“There is no such thing as free electricity. Any subsidy you want to give to any category of consumers, it has to be DBT. That is something which we have agreed. We will bring it into the law,” the power minister said at a press conference.

The minister has been championing DBT as a game changer for India’s electricity distribution sector which has been reeling under losses.

Distribution companies sometimes cut power saying they do not have the cash to pay generating firms. The government says this could be solved by better bill collection and by reducing power theft by those using unauthorised and unmetered grid links.

Singh said distributors would be fined if they cut power to customers unless the shutdown was caused by factors such as the weather or a disaster that was beyond a company’s control.

The fines would be imposed in the financial year starting April 1, 2019, he said, without giving further details.

In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a Rs 16,000-crore scheme — Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana ‘Saubhagya’ — to provide electricity connections to over 4 crore families in rural and urban areas by December 2018.

Under the scheme, the government proposes to provide electricity to all households by December 2018, ahead of the earlier target of March, 2019.


Source- Times Now


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