29, February, 2024
HomeIndiaEmpowering Punjab: Milestones and Initiatives in the State's Power Sector Revolution

Empowering Punjab: Milestones and Initiatives in the State’s Power Sector Revolution

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Punjab, a trailblazer in energy reforms, has successfully illuminated the lives of its residents by providing free power to 90 percent of domestic consumers. State Power Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO revealed that eligible households now enjoy the benefit of 600 units bi-monthly or 300 units monthly without incurring any charges.

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In a significant stride towards agricultural development, the state has also electrified 100 percent of its agricultural tubewells at no cost. Singh proudly announced that Punjab achieved its highest-ever power demand of 15,293 MW on June 23, 2023, showcasing a remarkable 7 percent increase from the previous record set on June 29, 2022, at 14,311 MW. Furthermore, the state met a day’s record energy demand of 3427 lakh units on September 9, 2023, compared to 3345 lakh units in June 2022.

To bolster the power infrastructure, Punjab has sanctioned the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) with an investment of Rs. 3,873 crore. This funding will primarily focus on enhancing distribution infrastructure, including 66kV lines, transformers, and 11kV feeders.

A game-changing Detailed Project Report (DPR) with an estimated value of ₹6,000 crore for modernization works is anticipated to receive approval from the Government of India by March 2024.

In a move towards sustainable energy, Punjab signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) on July 21, 2023, for 1,000 MW of solar power projects across India at ₹2.53/kWh and 200 MW of solar power projects within the state at ₹2.75/kWh.

The Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) reported a notable profit of ₹564.75 crore for the period spanning April 1, 2023, to September 30, 2023. Singh attributed this success to the operational revival of the Pachhwara Central Coal Mine, closed for seven years, significantly reducing dependency on expensive imported coal since December 2022.

In an effort to fortify energy conservation, PSPCL received accolades as the “top-performing company” among power distribution companies through the Union Power Ministry’s Performance, Achievement, and Business (PAT) program. During PAT Cycle II, PSPCL issued 80,686 Energy Saving Certificates, valued at ₹1840 each, amounting to ₹14.84 crore.

Singh highlighted the recruitment of 4,446 individuals in the Power Department from April 1, 2022, to December 15, 2023, a testament to the state’s commitment to workforce development.

Additionally, the implementation of a new Accident Compensation Policy demonstrates Punjab’s dedication to the well-being of its workforce, providing ex-gratia of ₹10 lakh in case of employment-related accidents and a ₹10.00 lakh group insurance for contractual workers.

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To assist defaulting consumers, a One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme was introduced, offering a reduced interest rate of 9 percent and exempting consumers with disconnected connections for less than 6 months from fixed charges. This flexible scheme provides consumers the option to pay the default amount in four installments, showcasing Punjab’s inclusive approach to ensure power accessibility for all.

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