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Quality, Reliability Matter for 24x7 Electricity Access, CEEW's Energy Access Survey Finds
29 Sep 2015

Despite 96% of villages electrified, only two-thirds of rural households have a connection and only half of them receive more than twelve hours of power a day, the largest energy access survey in India has found. Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, today released an independent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), in collaboration with Columbia University.

Speaking at the release of the ACCESS study, Minister Piyush Goyal, said, “CEEW’s ACCESS study provides a holistic approach to analyse the deep distress to rural India due to poor electricity access and could be the handbook for all future discussion on this topic. In urban India, we often take electricity for granted without realizing the poor state of electricity access faced by large parts of rural India. Though 96% of villages are electrified, it is crucial to note that this does not equal to electrification of the households. Rural citizens today demand quality electricity to light their homes, use fans, charge mobiles and provide a conducive environment for the education of their children. Ensuring quality 24x7 electricity at affordable prices to backward regions and the poorest of the poor citizens in rural India is the prime focus of my government.”

The Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity – Survey of States (ACCESS) is India's largest energy access survey, covering more than 8500 households, 714 villages and 51 districts, across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

According to the study, with the exception of West Bengal, the state of electricity access across the surveyed states remains poor. With 300 million Indians relying on kerosene for lighting, access to electricity is still a significant challenge to India’s development. Prime Minister Modi last year announced an ambitious plan to provide affordable 24x7 power to all households by 2019.

Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, said, “The ACCESS study reaffirms that along with education and clean drinking water, household electrification is accorded the highest priority by rural households. Central and state governments must extend their focus from providing a connection to the household, to ensuring a decent level of duration of supply, quality and reliability in electricity service. This could have a tremendous positive effects on the rural economy and boost standards of living.”

Abhishek Jain, CEEW researcher and lead author of the study, said, “By identifying specific impediments and household preferences on a large scale, the ACCESS study can help policymakers develop region/district-specific solutions, thereby making government programmes for expanding electricity access more effective.”

The ACCESS study is the result of an expansive data collection process, lasting over twelve months and resulting in the collection of over 2.5 million data points. It provides a first-of-its-kind multi-dimensional evaluation of the state of energy access in India and highlights the multiple nuances associated with electricity access such as the duration of supply, quality, reliability, affordability and even legal status of the electricity connection. The ACCESS study was supported by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

Download ACCESS study: http://ceew.in/pdf/CEEW-ACCESS-Report-29Sep15.pdf

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CEEW’s Fact of the day...
In India, around 74 million rural households lack access to modern lighting services and a larger proportion of the population (around 840 million) continue to be dependent on traditional biomass energy sources
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