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Emergence of a power surplus scenario at the national level will give a big boost to the economy

Author: Pyaralal Raghavan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 3, 2016
URL:   http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/minorityview/emergence-of-a-power-surplus-scenario-at-the-national-level-will-give-a-big-boost-to-the-economy/

India is expected to achieve an historical record when its transforms itself from a power deficit to a power surplus country in 2016-1, for the first time in decades. This is a major gain that will help boost the low levels of energy consumption in the country and contribute to the buoyancy of the economy. Hopefully it will also ensure that business and industry will get adequate power at its asking.

This assessment is brought out in the annual Load Generation Balance Report for 2016-17 published by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) which estimates the anticipated power requirements and availability in the different states and also the demand and supply at peak load levels. The emergence of surplus power is a major turnaround as the deficit levels had touched double digit levels a decade back and it took years of prolonged efforts to chip away the huge deficits. .

So though the final turnaround to the surplus position was achieved by the substantial gains in the power sector achieved by the NDA government in the last two years it would only be fair to acknowledge the significant efforts the previous UPA government had made to restore the finances of the power sector and push through reforms. However, it is not that all regions will see a surplus of electricity.

Estimates show that the major credit for transforming India from an electricity deficit to surplus situation would go to the gains made by the western and southern states. In fact the numbers show that western India will have a power surplus of 26,283 million units (MU) in 2016-17 the surplus in the south will be 10,381 MU. In contrast the north east, northern and eastern regions will have deficits of 1,339 MU, 6,450 MU and 15,622 MU respectively. In contrast all the regions had registered a power deficit in 2015-16.

Numbers on requirement and availability of power in the states show that the largest surplus in quantitative terms will be in Tamil Nadu (11,649 MU), followed by Maharashtra (11,333 MU), Madhya Pradesh (8,853 MU), Delhi (5,774 MU), Gujarat (4,380 MU), and Karnataka (3,240 MU). In contrast the states with the highest energy deficit will include Uttar Pradesh (7,044 MU), Bihar (6,656 MU), West Bengal (5,257 MW), Andhra Pradesh (4,136), Jharkhand (2,796 MU), Jammu and Kashmir (2,438) and Assam (2,082).

We find that six of the seven states in the northern regions will have an energy surplus in 2016-17 while five of the six southern states would also enjoy a similar position. In contrast only three of the eight states in the northern region will achieve a surplus. Similarly only three of the six states in the eastern region will achieve a surplus and only two of the seven states in the north east.

The surplus deficit levels at peak load levels also mirror this scenario in most regions. The emergence of sharp disparities in the power supply scenario in the regions and states could lead to a reshuffle of new investments in favour of power surplus areas. This can have a substantial impact on the pace of development and employment generation and also hopefully motivate the laggard states to pull up their socks and wipe out the power deficits at the earliest.

- Works as Senior Assistant Editor on the edit page of the Times of India.
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