Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation has announced that it has prepared a report titled ‘Rural Electrification in India: Consumer Behaviour & Demand’ to support the discussion around rural electricity access, customer demand behaviour and service satisfaction. The report was launched today at the TERI-led World Sustainable Development Summit 2019, followed by a panel discussion consisting of dignitaries such as K.K. Mishra, Director (RE) Ministry Of Power, R.P. Gupta, Additional Secretary Niti Aayog, Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General TERI, Ms. Mohua Mukherjee, Programme Ambassador, International Solar Alliance, Jaideep Mukherjee, Chief Executive Officer, Smart Power India and Srinivasan Jain, Managing Director NDTV
The report findings are based on primary data collected from over 10,000 households and 2,000 rural micro-enterprises across four Indian states: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan. The report observes – while the electricity infrastructure availability has improved significantly across the four states, the goal of extending the electric grid to India’s villages should not obscure the need to provide the quality of supply and service. Additionally, it is crucial to service rural areas beyond basic household lighting and includes rural micro-enterprises in the mix.
The survey is a collaboration between Smart Power India and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Speaking at the panel discussion on ‘Rural Electricity Access in India: Taking a Leap from Grid Availability to Customer Service’, Jaideep Mukherji, CEO Smart Power India said: “We believe the findings of this survey will not only help us in understanding rural customer demand but also help us arrive at a sustainable and scalable framework that addresses quality of access and service to the rural customers.”
Presenting the findings of the survey at the World Development Summit, Sidhartha Vermani, Senior Director, Smart Power India, highlighted: “Electricity access, measured by availability of grid infrastructure stands high across villages. However, the adoption of electric connection has not improved everywhere and across different customer segments. Rural microenterprises largely remain unconnected from the grid and rely upon diesel generators amongst many other sources. Third, having an electric connection doesn’t guarantee the energy’s reliable supply, billing and service redress. Resultantly village electricity consumption remains low and only about half of the national average for residential consumption.
Johannes Urpelainen, Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies who co-led this collaborative survey on the behalf of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) added:
“The partnership in undertaking this Survey and helping with the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, represented a powerful opportunity for ISEP to present reliable evidence which will support Smart Power India’s focus on creating a new framework and solutions that serves the broader reliable electricity access needs of rural customers.”