Only 84% of rural households have electricity connection in the four States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan, a comprehensive private sector survey of 10,000 households has found.
This is in contrast to the government’s Saubhagya Scheme data, which shows that 100% household electrification has been achieved in U.P., Bihar and Odisha; and 99.9% in Rajasthan.
According to the data in the survey report by SmartPower, the 84% figure for households with electricity connections could actually be even lower. The report said that 90% of the households surveyed had an electric connection or “electric pole within 50 m distance”. Within this figure, 84% of the households were the ones with an actual electricity connection. The report also found that only 75% of all households used electricity from the grid, suggesting that there were several households that relied on off-grid sources of electricity despite having a connection.
“Despite the increasing footprint of grid-electricity, this study finds that several non-grid sources are in use; these include, primarily, solar home systems, followed by rechargeable batteries, mini-grid electricity, and diesel generators,” the report said. “Overall 16% of households use non-grid-electricity sources, half of which also have grid connections.”
“This is an important finding, as there is an assumption that non-grid sources are popular only among un-electrified households,” the report added.
This is probably best explained by the finding that 80% of the households with electricity infrastructure within 50 m said they did not make use of an electricity connection because they could not afford one. Other reasons for choosing off-grid sources included unreliable supply of electricity, inadequate supply of electricity and lack of residence proof.