Many Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, have already taken steps to separate their supply systems for agricultural and other consumers. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint (Ramesh Pathania/Mint)
Many Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, have already taken steps to separate their supply systems for agricultural and other consumers. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
(Ramesh Pathania/Mint)

Rural feeder segregation must be supplemented with better monitoring: study

The World Bank report recommends feeder separation but suggests that metering of all rural consumers also be considered

New Delhi: Separating the electricity supply systems for agriculture consumers has led to better quality of power for rural consumers, a new World Bank report found after conducting a study in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

“According to the survey, prior to feeder segregation, more than 80% consumers in both Gujarat and Rajasthan complained of low voltage problems, which came down to 6% post segregation; more than 80% domestic and over 50% agriculture consumers complained of frequent power outages, which reduced by less than half in both the states," a release summarizing the report said.

The government requested World Bank to conduct the study to analyse different approaches to rural feeder segregation across India. Many Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, have already taken steps to separate their supply systems for agricultural and other consumers.

The report—Experience of Rural load Segregation Schemes in States—recommends feeder separation but suggests that metering of all rural consumers also be considered and data collected from the separate feeders be used to better manage power supply.

This is because performance on reducing distribution losses has been mixed in the states where feeder separation has been done.

Distribution losses, which occur due to theft and inefficiencies in transmission and billing, have been estimated at about 27%. This is despite 10-year-old government schemes aiming to cut distribution losses to below 15%.

The government plans to set up a knowledge hub to design appropriate rural power supply systems, for example in a few districts of Bihar, by sharing experience across states. The World Bank will provide technical assistance to the hub, the release said.

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