Even as Delhi reels under a power shortage and states like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh grapple with huge peak power deficit,
Gujarat is flaunting its 24x7 electricity supply. And why not? The state successfully wiped out a peak power deficit as high as 25% in less than a decade. This was achieved through simple reforms that other states have failed to adopt. A supply system which ensures single-phase electricity supply to the subsidised agricultural consumers and a three-phase one to other consumers in the rural areas—under the state’s
Jyotigram scheme—ensures there is no leakage. The state restructured its power companies into seven entities with specific responsibilities to bring in efficiency. This includes four distribution and a power-trading company. Facilitating private sector participation raised power generation. Generation capacity in the state has gone up by more than two and a half times with the share of the private sector going up from 25% to more than 60%. Gujarat’s distribution companies are making profits while those of the other states stare at huge losses—these stood at a whopping R2.4 lakh crore at the end of FY12. Take any parameter for power, and the state has an impressive record. Per-capita consumption of electricity at 1,663 kWh in Gujarat as compared to the all-India figure of 884 kWh, is better than even Haryana and Delhi, and rural electrification in the state is close to 99% as against the national penetration of 93.8%.
Starting with the segregation of subsidised and non-subsidised consumers and their supply lines to fixing of cost-reflective tariffs and reduction in T&D losses to sale of surplus power to other states, Gujarat has undertaken all the reform measures in the book. The average tariff in the state in FY12 was 422 paise/kwh while the all-India average was 387. And in terms of recovery, it was only behind Sikkim and Maharashtra—at 92.8%—while the all-India average was just 66%. The T&D losses in Gujarat have also been a much lower 18% as compared to the national 24%. Its cost of power supply, at 495.54 paise per kWh, in FY14 was only above Chattisgarh among the 22 major states. Armed with a working model, Narendra Modi now needs to spread Jyotigram across the country.