87% households have access to grid-connected power; some still don't use electricity: Survey

A majority of households (87 per cent) in India have access to grid-connect electricity, while the remaining 13 per cent are either using non-grid sources for power or “do not use any electricity at all”, according to a survey. The finding is part of the joint survey conducted by government think-tank NITI Aayog and the US-based philanthropic organisation Rockefeller Foundation on ‘Electricity Access and Benchmarking of Distribution Utilities.’

“Overall 87 per cent respondents said they have access to grid-based electricity. The remaining 13 per cent either use non-grid sources for electricity and lighting or don’t use any electricity at all,” the survey said.

The study further showed that of all customers using non-grid sources, the majority 62 per cent of them are agricultural customers. Only four per cent of households today do not have access to grid-based electricity. The survey was released by Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of Rockefeller Foundation, on Wednesday. It was conducted across 10 states with a sample size of over 25,000 respondents consisting of different consumer categories such as households, agriculture, commercial enterprises and institutions both from rural and urban areas.

It mainly focused on key areas such as grid connectivity, electricity access, customer satisfaction, utilities’ capacity to delivery and drivers of sustainability for utilities. The survey also showed that a total of 66 per cent of surveyed customers are satisfied with the overall services from their utility. However, there were differences in satisfaction levels between urban customers (75 per cent) and rural customers (63 per cent).

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According to the survey, utilities across Uttar Pradesh have performed far below the other utilities. SPI Chief Executive Officer Jaideep Mukherji said, “India has emerged as one of the leaders in providing electricity access, almost doubling the access rate in the past 20 years from 59.4 per cent to extending grid connections to 100 per cent households in the country.”

He added that this has been made possible through a multitude of efforts, including enhancing power generation to reduce supply deficits, strengthening the backbone of the electricity supply infrastructure, and ensuring last-mile connectivity for different customer segments.

However, despite achieving 100 per cent household electrification, access to reliable and affordable electricity supply continues to remain a major challenge. It is now time to focus on sustainability of electricity access and craft an action plan to resolve the barriers, he noted.

Deepali Khanna, managing director (Asia Regional Office) of The Rockefeller Foundation, said, “As the power sector seeks to achieve greater self-reliance and sound financial health, delivery effectiveness and customer satisfaction will play a crucial role in strengthening the overall performance of the sector.”



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