Thursday, July 26, 2007

india's electricity situation has been well discussed amongst various sections of society including economists, power experts, news columnists, etc. more discussed has been the fact that how electricity is crucial for 'development of india', the elite urban india that is since this sectin is the most power guzzling section of india. even more discussed has been the fact that how can india get nuclear technology from america, the land which has abandoned nuclear power.

one factor that wont get discussed is the transmission and distribution (t&d) loss in india. whilst america's loss are low single digits (around 3 to 5%), india's loss is a whopping 30 to 40%. that's why cse's sunita narain asks what will we do with new power plants when it is a known fact that 40% of it is going to get lost due to t&d losses.

but there is a twist to this. how much electricity loss is a good loss. how a loss can be a good one. well, if we leave it our policy makers, all loss is a good loss.

that is what tamilnadu electricity board officers are telling. as per the honorable minister of electricity in tamilnadu and i quote "the power transmission loss ranged anywhere between 30 and 40 per cent, but Tamil Nadu accounted for just 18 per cent, a standing testimony to the power management techniques being adopted by the TNEB."

well 30 to 40% is ugly, but 18% is neat. pretty neat that 18% itself is a huge margin considering tamilnadu generates 8000mw and upto 2000mw (the capacity to feed almost entire kerala state) goes waste of it. 2000mw is a mind blowing figure. if 1mw costs approx 2 crores, then this is 4000 crore rupees going waste.

if the minister had told "we are in low single digits and we will make the t&d loss theortically zero, please be patient with us" , then it would have made sense.

but he cannot afford to say that. because when it comes to presenting rosy picture while presenting the 'development of the state', we need to twist facts and make even the losses good losses.


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