How can India solve its electricity problem?

As of December 2012, India’s electricity sector had an installed capacity at 210.951 GW. This makes it the fifth-largest in the world.

Yes, we can increase our capacity and use nuclear resources. But I believe there are fundamental problems with Indian society and policies that can be addressed to solve large parts of our energy needs with the existing capacity.

These are some of the things I’m going to discuss:

  1. Public Awareness and Responsibility – People must be educated about energy conservation. They need to be educated about their responsibility for not stealing electricity, and how to pay proper bills.
  • Energy theft:
    People often put direct wire-connections to main power lines passing by houses or shops. These are also common during street events. You don’t care about conserving electricity when you have free electricity. This means that neither the power company nor these individuals get money to increase their capacity or use “free” electricity wisely. This approach is used by 40% of Haryanais, which is quite remarkable.
  • Paying Less:
    People are really smart. They put a Resistor inside the meter which lowers the “consumption recorded” by the meter. And then same thing as above point.
  • Use of energy conservation devices:
    People should be made aware how long term usage of these products actually lowers the overall cost! Eg: CFLs etc. If the government had used the money spent on Commonwealth Games in subsidizing these, most probably, it would have been a better India.
  • Responsible Lifestyle – The urban lifestyle’s love of appliances boosts power consumption. Devices like ACs, heaters, driers, and so on. The problem is misusing these. People are too lazy or just ignorant about switching off the ACs while going out. If you have more privileges, be more responsible too.

(ref: How to Save Energy at Home and at Work )

2. Increase efficiency in the production and distribution of electricity

Inefficiencies in state distribution networks cause large amounts of power loss in India. Distribution is India’s weakest link, accounting for 38.86% of the country’s total power loss in 2000-01.

Theft and inefficiency account for more than 30% of all the power generated in the country. This is almost the same load as the north, east and north-eastern grids carried when they fell in August 2012, putting millions of people in darkness.

(ref: Power Theft in India — Photos )

3. Use international models:

Switzerland is a great example of this model. Electricity for households is expensive during the day but much cheaper in the evenings. So? They are able route more electricity to industries during the day, and people do their laundry during the evenings. This helps reduce their peak hour demand which in turn decreases the installation capacity. There are many models for such incentives.

Instead of blaming the authorities and government, let’s try to change our behavior and make an effort to increase awareness in our communities. We can solve the energy crisis. The revenue generated by our regular payments of bills can easily meet the rest of the demand.

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