Urban and rural BPL households of Uttar Pradesh will receive free electricity connections. The decision was taken on Monday when power minister Piyush Goyal met Shrikant Sharma, the newly appointed energy minister of the state, in a meeting that lasted more than three hours. Besides, APL households will get electricity connections at reasonable EMIs under a 100% financing option. With the aim to curb power theft, an amnesty scheme would be given to household and commercial connections that want to take legal electricity connections.
The BJP ministers also decided to waive interests on electricity dues and provision of option of EMIs to pay off the principal amounts. To improve the operational efficiency of the discoms, it was decided to designate power officials to monitor consumption, billing, collection and ensuring 24×7 reliable quality power to the industry.
Power ministry officials were directed to conduct weekly ground level review of the progress of projects being implemented in UP.
To bring down the cost of power, state power officers would have to come up with a plan to replace all the old thermal power plants in the state with the more fuel-efficient super critical plants. They will also have to devise a strategy to optimally utilise coal linkages to the power plants.
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Goyal took the opportunity to study the facts and figures presented by the state officials.
Despite several reminders, Uttar Pradesh had not been providing sufficient power-related data to the Centre for more than six months under the previous regime. This had created complications in the assessments of the discoms of UP.
Timely furnishing data was one of the main tenets of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), which was introduced to turn around the financially distressed discoms. UP had joined UDAY in January last year.