Free power promotes irresponsible consumption, and unless the government rationalises distribution of this scarce resource, manufacturing will collapse, opine industry leaders.
The growth of the country is directly correlated to its electricity consumption. According to the government, it will take 25-30 years for India to become self-sufficient in its electricity needs, where the energy is produced from different sources that include nuclear energy. However, this is far from reality because of agitations stalling the initiated power projects, said Rajiv Agrawal, Secretary, Indian Captive Power Producers Association.
Electricity is a commodity, where the demand will be only increase year after year. If a group of people consume 100 MW this year, the same will need 120MW to 160 MW next year. It is important to understand the need in demand should be driven by productive usage and not by the luxury usage or misusage of resources.
For instance, giving free power will reduce its value and there is huge wastage. If a person is a getting free power, he many not really bother to switch off the pump set of the bore well in time, which leads to wastage.
On usage of different resources for captive power, he said, the wind energy and hydel power cannot produced in the required location. Even if there is huge availability of wind, there are only few pockets where there is enough wind which to run windmills at a commercially viable scale. There will be heavy transmission costs if one runs these plants in far off location.
Micro industries cannot afford diesel generators whereas small industries are using DG sets to fulfil the power needs because of less initial investments. The unit of power can be produced anywhere between `13-16. However, the huge initial investments and returns on it is impeding the industry to use solar power, said Ramesh Datla, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry, MSME Council.
“There are also issues in producing electricity through waste especially in terms of collection, segregation of waste and preventing the pollution during the process. Renewable energy is definitely option but only 2-5 per cent energy needs are expected from these sources,” said Agrawal.
Around 30,000 MW is produced through captive power out of which 50 per cent is through coal (steam) followed by diesel, gas and other renewable energy sources. The government is neither giving coal to produce captive power to be self-dependent nor giving the normal power to run the industry. The government is directing the available coal to coal-based plants due to its scarcity, he said.
“If we don’t have enough resources for produce power, we have to have save power. The only way out is to rationalise power supply across the country. The government should bring rationing system in place for non-productive consumption.
For instance, government should not let consumer as much power he wants. There should be double or triple of the unit charges if he or she is using it as a luxury and go beyond a point,” he added.
The government should start innovative schemes that support industry with initial investments in setting up the captive solar power plants, where in the investments can distributed and can be repaid to the government in 10-15 years. It is high time public should keep the needs and growth of the country in mind before agitating against upcoming power projects, said Datla.