Energy sector slips and blips

Improvement in the energy situation of the country has been a significant part of the government’s mantra for the coming elections. But in a hurry to present the next budget, it seems that there have been quite a few slips in the preparation of the annual performance of the power sector.

That the government has made concerted efforts to increase the power-generation installed capacity cannot be denied. And that it has made efforts to reduce the reliance on expensive furnace oil is also commendable. The latest economic survey shows that during the (almost) five years of its tenure (2013-2018), the government has added 39 projects with cumulative capacity of 12,230 MW with around 7,125 MW in 2016-17 and 2,529 MW in 2017-18 so far.

However, at another place the survey reveals, “Up till Feb 2018, installed capacity of electricity reached 29,573 MW, which was 22,812 MW in 2012-13, thus, posting a growth of 30 percent.” Now according to this, the increase in installed capacity has been around 6,761 MW. What accounts for the difference is little known, even if accounted for a closure of few units here and there. The overall growth figure of one of the most important industrial sub-sectors – electricity generation and distribution, and gas distribution – was recorded at just 1.84 percent. Last year, i.e. FY17, the sector recorded a growth of just 5.8 percent; while in FY16, it recorded a healthy growth of over 9 percent year-on-year.

Published in Business Recorder, 27th April, 2018