2018: Year of mixed fortunes

The year 2018 was a mixed one for the Indian power sector. On the one hand, some major policies and programmes were announced to expand electricity access and to improve the health of distribution companies. On the other hand, shortage of fuel—especially coal for thermal power plants—was a major concern.

Power sector reforms remained a top priority for the government in power and ‘100 per cent electrification’ claims to be one of the biggest achievements in this direction. “28th April 2018 will be remembered as a historic day in the development journey of India. Yesterday, we fulfilled a commitment due to which the lives of several Indians will be transformed forever! I am delighted that every single village of India now has access to electricity,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced. However, reports suggest, around 178 million people in India still live off the grid with no access to electricity. In 2019, this is expected to provide an impetus for the growth in terms of providing last mile connectivity and meeting increased electricity demand.

Though India has made giant strides in the area of reducing power outages, it still suffers from high transmission and distribution losses. At 22 per cent, it is among the highest in the world. Advanced technologies like smart grids and smart meters can play a crucial role in mitigating T&D losses. Of late, the government announced its plans to make all electricity meters smart prepaid in three years commencing 1st April, 2019. This move will bring revolution in power sector by way of reduction in aggregate technical & commercial (AT&C) losses.

So, in 2019, the power sector is expected to witness a lot of transformation which will unfold new opportunities to explore.