According to state power minister Harbhajan Singh, Punjab supplied 90% of domestic consumers with free electricity

State power minister Harbhajan Singh announced that Punjab has provided free electricity to 90% of domestic consumers, signalling a significant step in the state’s energy policy to support households.

According to state Power Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO, Punjab has given free power to 90% of domestic customers, providing 600 units of electricity every two months or 300 units per month. He gave a summary of the department’s accomplishments in 2023 and mentioned that free electricity has been installed in all of the state’s agricultural tube wells.

In a significant update on Punjab’s power sector, State Power Minister Harbhajan Singh announced remarkable achievements, reflecting the state’s commitment to meeting growing energy demands, enhancing infrastructure, and embracing renewable energy sources.

Singh proudly revealed that Punjab met its highest-ever power demand of 15,293 MW on June 23, 2023, marking a notable 7 per cent increase from the previous record of 14,311 MW on June 29, 2022. This achievement highlights the state’s adaptability and capacity to meet the growing energy demands of its citizens.

Singh revealed that on September 9, 2023, the record energy demand for a day was 3427 lakh units, compared to 3345 lakh units on June 29, 2022, underscoring Punjab’s adeptness in managing energy needs. These accomplishments demonstrate the state’s capacity to handle times of high demand while maintaining a steady and dependable supply of electricity.

Punjab has approved Rs. 3,873 crore for the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) to strengthen the state’s electrical infrastructure. With the help of this funding, distribution infrastructure—which includes transformers, 11kV feeders, and 66kV lines—will be improved. The investment is a calculated step toward improving the effectiveness and dependability of the state’s electrical distribution system.

With an eye toward the future, the Indian government is anticipated to approve a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for modernization projects totalling approximately ₹6,000 crores by March 2024. This large investment supports the state’s goal of having a sustainable and technologically advanced power industry.

Punjab signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) on July 21, 2023, for 1,000 MW of solar power projects across India at ₹2.53/kWh, acknowledging the importance of renewable energy. Furthermore, agreements were signed at ₹2.75/kWh for 200 MW of solar power projects in Punjab. These programs demonstrate Punjab’s dedication to promoting clean, sustainable power generation and diversifying its energy mix.

From April 1, 2023, to September 30, 2023, the state-run Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) announced an impressive profit of ₹564.75 crore. The Pachhwara Central Coal Mine’s successful operation—which had been shut down for the previous seven years—is credited with this financial success. PSPCL was able to lessen its reliance on pricey imported coal starting in December 2022 thanks to the mine’s revival, demonstrating the beneficial effects of tactical operational choices.

PSPCL’s dedication to energy conservation was recognized when the Union Power Ministry’s Performance, Achievement, and Business (PAT) program awarded it the title of “top-performing company” among power distribution companies (discoms). PSPCL awarded ₹14.84 crore in PAT Cycle II in the form of 80,686 Energy Saving Certificates, each valued at ₹1840. This award demonstrates the company’s commitment to efficiency and sustainability.

Regarding human resources, Singh revealed that between April 1, 2022, and December 15, 2023, 4,446 new hires were made in the Power Department. 3,662 people in PSPCL and 784 in PSTCL are included in this. The hiring campaign indicates a dedication to skill development and workforce growth in the power industry.

Singh also presented a number of welfare programs, such as a new accident compensation policy that offers ₹10 lakh in ex-gratia if an accident related to employment results in death. Additionally, a ₹10 lakh group insurance that covers both fatal and non-fatal accidents is provided to contract workers. In addition, a Time Settlement (OTS) program with lower interest rates and instalment options was introduced to help consumers who were in default settle their debts.

The state’s energy landscape appears promising given Punjab’s advancements in the power sector. A strong basis for future expansion is laid by the focus on infrastructural development, the adoption of renewable energy, financial sustainability, and employee welfare.