IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 39

Organizational and governance practices in rural electrification
must be carefully designed, whether the process is executed
by a state company, a private company, or a cooperative.
4) Finally, the lack of an integrated, let alone optimized,
approach has been conspicuous. off-grid electrification using renewables has in some cases overlapped
with extensions of the grid through rggVY within
a span of months, leading to expensive renewable
generation facilities' being left idle. More important,
rggVY has not paid any attention to the supply
issues, including the supply reliability of the grid or
opportunities to augment the grid with locally available renewable resources. on one hand, there are
expensive solar home lighting systems at an equivalent
cost of electricity that is close to US$1 per unit that are
being promoted through various solar programs, even
in hilly areas that have poor insolation for most of the
year. on the other hand, the same villages are on the
list for electrification under rggVY. there are also
often excellent local renewable resources such as mini
or small hydro and biomass that are being ignored
simply because these resources do not fall under the
purview of either solar missions or rggVY.
if india is to achieve a balanced economic development,
the number of households with access to modern sources of
energy must increase significantly and dramatically. large
populations with access to limited quantities of energy
resources have meant that the poor, more often than not, lose
out in the race for these resources and feel the impact of any
supply shortfall. When they do have access to energy, they
end paying substantially more than the affluent sections in
the absence of a backbone infrastructure, thus perpetuating
the cycle of poverty. Further, there exist great disparities in
household-level rural electrification across states. States like
Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, orissa, and Uttar Pradesh have
electricity access below 40%, lagging way behind states
like Andhra Pradesh and Punjab that have already achieved
greater than 90% electrification.
these issues, however, have recently been receiving
political attention. the smart grid vision for india promulgated by the Ministry of Power in September 2013 identified energy access as a major thrust area. one of the targets
for the ministry is electrification of all households by 2017,
with at least a lifeline eight hours of supply that includes
the evening peak. the ministry has also set as a target providing a minimum of 12 hours of supply to all consumers
by the year 2022 and 24/7 stable, high-quality power to
all consumers by 2027. traditionally, such expansions in
access are carried out by extending the electric grid and
installing conventional sources of energy such as thermal
july/august 2014

power plants. Since renewable energy resources are abundant in rural areas, these can be tapped and used locally
and can potentially provide usable energy even in locations
where grid connectivity may not be feasible. Achieving a
good balance between grid extension and grid-connected
or off-grid renewable resources is a key problem that the
programs need to solve.

Zambia
Zambia is one of the most urbanized countries in sub-Saharan
Africa, with 44% of its population settled in a few urban
centers along major transport corridors while the rural areas
are sparsely populated. despite this relatively high level of
urbanization, more than half the country's people live in
sparsely populated rural areas, where most of them are poor,
subsisting on less than US$2 per day. While current access
to electricity nationwide is approaching 30%, rural access
still stands at a modest 4.5%.
the importance of electricity as an essential catalyst in the development of rural areas was recognized
immediately after independence in 1964. At the time, the
responsibility for rural electrification was vested in the
national utility, the Zambia electricity Supply corporation
(ZeSco). Under this framework, the national ministry
of finance allocated a budget for rural electrification that
it disbursed to ZeSco, which executed the projects and
took over their operation, often at a loss. this arrangement
lasted for almost 30 years, from 1964 to 1993. A major
challenge with this framework was simply that the funding
available from the ministry was inadequate, as reflected in
the slow pace of rural electrification. this was partly due to
the many competing demands on the very limited national
treasury, including education, health, and infrastructure
such as roads. Moreover, there was no clear framework for
identifying projects for funding.
to address the deficiencies in the arrangements described
above, the institutional framework for rural electrification was
reviewed in 1993. A key innovation of the new arrangements
was the introduction of the electricity levy, initially pegged
at 5%. Under this framework, 5% of all electricity bills was
remitted to the ministry of finance and deposited into a rural
electrification fund. the ministry then disbursed the funds
to ZeSco to pay for rural electrification projects. this new
framework provided a more structured approach to rural
electrification. identification of projects for funding was done
through a committee. the system was successful in the initial years but soon became ineffectual due to lack of funding
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover3
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