IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 11

the study had electricity for less than 8 h (maximum load
of 50 W) or no electricity at all. Moreover, these households were found to be experiencing blackouts for two to
four days a week (A. Jain et al.). The situation in other
states may be slightly better, but low-income homes in
most parts of India have poor access to electricity. Overall,
the problem of energy access in India is quite unique and
requires a new approach that leverages modern technological innovations. One way India can overturn the whole
narrative of energy access for low- and medium-income
households is by adopting novel solar and energy storage
technologies and promoting innovations, such as a direct
current (dc) microgrid, which benefits the energy poor.

Analysis of the Existing Problem
Poor Economics of Power Connections

Proportion of Rural Households (%)

The apparent reason for a large number of homes remaining off the grid and those with the grid having long hours
of load shedding is a shortage of power. India generates
less power than it would like to consume, but this has
been changing over the past few years. Power generation
capacity is increasing, whereas consumption has not been
increasing as fast. As a result, the demand-supply gap has
been narrowing, and power shortages may no longer be
the primary reason for the current situation. Even during
peak-demand hours, the gap is no longer severe. The limitations of the power-transmission grid in some regions of
the country were another reason that power did not reach
power-deficit areas. Even this issue has been considerably
rectified, as the power grid in the country has expanded

its capacity. The shortage of power is therefore no longer
the primary reason for a number of Indian homes having
no power or power for limited hours.
Another apparent reason for a large number of homes
being off the grid is that, even when the village has grid
connectivity, the power lines have not been extended to
each home. In fact, as per the definition provided by the
Ministry of Power, India, "a village is considered electrified
when 10% of the homes in a village are connected to the
grid." Even though it is a serious problem, this bottleneck
could be overcome by extending the existing power lines
to all since some remote homes in a connected village
should not be very expensive or difficult.
The real reason for the current power situation may lie
in the economics. First of all, can these homes afford to
pay for power even at the currently subsidized power tariffs? Second, can the power distribution companies (DISCOMs) afford to supply power to these homes at
subsidized rates? The answer to both these questions may
not be in the affirmative, and, unless this issue is
addressed, many of these homes may remain without
access to electricity for a long time.
The power tariff for homes in India is about ₹5 per unit.
(An exchange rate of US $1 = ₹70 is assumed in this article.)
A small home that in a day uses two tubelights for 6 h, two
fans for 12 h, two bulbs, a 24-in TV for 10 h, and a cell
phone being charged for 4 h consumes a little over three
units of power a day, costing about ₹500 a month. This
would be expensive for at least 50% of all Indian homes
and an even larger percentage of rural homes. Therefore, in
many parts of the country, the electricity tariff is further

100
80
60
40
20
0
Bihar

Jharkhand

Madhya Pradesh Uttar Pradesh

West Bengal

Odisha

Tier 3

1%

0%

4%

0%

16%

3%

Tier 2

2%

5%

4%

4%

19%

12%

Tier 1

18%

22%

28%

24%

50%

39%

Tier 0

79%

073%

64%

71%

25%

47%

Figure 1. The households' distribution across different electricity tiers (A. Jain et al.). Tiers 0-3 represent progression in the path to energy
access. Households with no electricity fall under Tier 0. Households with capacities of 1-50 W and having power only for 4-8 h a day fall under
Tier 1. Those with 50-500-W capacity and 8-20 h of power are Tier 2, and the rest are classified under Tier 3.

IEEE Electrific ation Magazine / j un E 2 0 1 6

11



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016

IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover1
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover2
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 1
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IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover3
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2013
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2013
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