Electricity requirement in Uttar Pradesh has dropped by 1.6% in the first 11 months of FY19 against the same period in the previous fiscal. This is the seventh straight month when UP\u2019s power requirement has fallen on a year-on-year basis. The dip in demand was more stark in the first two months of 2019 with electricity requirements plummetting 6.6% in January and 11.2% in February. The development comes amid UP \u2014 the largest beneficiary of the Saubhagya scheme \u2014 connecting about 75 lakh households through the programme since October 2017. The country\u2019s most populous state \u2014 where aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of discoms are among the highest \u2014 declaring muted electricity requirement also coincides with rising power costs. State energy minister Shrikant Sharma has attributed the fall in power demand to the \u201cresult of transparent functioning and awareness of consumers for saving energy\u201d. Also read|\u00a0Rahul Gandhi\u2019s NYAY: Raghuram Rajan tells why it\u2019s not easy to implement minimum income scheme for poor However, sector experts have attributed the fall in demand to the movement of industrial consumers to open access and formalisation of unauthorised connections under Saubhagya. Average power purchase cost for the states which adopted the UDAY scheme increased by 2.4% in six months to Rs 4.30 per unit at the end of H1FY19 owing to the rise in coal and railway transportation prices. The same for UP has increased by 13% to Rs 4.48 per unit in the same period. \u201cWe will closely watch the developments in the coming months and see how the power sector absorbs the cost push,\u201d said KPMG India national head energy Anish De. \u201cA number of these new (Saubhagya) connections were earlier using un-metered electricity illegally and the new meters might have made them conscious about consumption,\u201d an analyst who did not wish to be identified told FE. The Union power ministry had earlier pointed out that sales migration through open access \u2014 where industrial consumers source power from avenues other than discoms \u2014 have been impacting discoms\u2019 revenue as well as operations and power procurement planning. All-India electricity demand in the April-February period, at 1,159 billion units (BU), has registered an annual growth of 5.4%. While Kerala\u2019s electricity consumption has slipped by 0.32% during this period, Chhattisgarh\u2019s power requirement has just inched up 0.6% in 11MFY19. UP\u2019s AT&C losses stand at 31.2% (December-end) against the national average of 19.8%. Additionally, because the state\u2019s electricity regulator had not raised power tariffs adequately, the discom had accumulated regulatory assets worth Rs 33,000 crore at FY18-end. The state departments also owed the discoms another Rs 12,166 crore in September 2018 \u2014 recording a 19% annual rise in dues.UP has reduced its FY20 budget expenditure on electricity by about 18% (from FY19RE) to Rs 26,503 crore.