A virtual roundtable on ‘Renewables, Open Access and the future of Retail Competition in India’ was organised by Prayas (Energy Group) on September 7, 2021. The landscape of the Indian power sector has undergone a drastic change, driven by a shift towards RE as well as consumers migrating away from the DISCOMs. Presently, the share of sales migration stands at close to one-fifth of the total DISCOM sales in India. This increasing migration is a consequence of rapidly falling RE prices as well as increasing corporate commitments towards RE. While the economics does favour RE and subsequent migration via open access and captive routes; the policy environment in the country is yet not conducive towards an accelerated development of these competitive options. The sector remains mired with administrative hurdles, uncertainty regarding open access charges as well as unclear policy provisions. The participants deliberated upon structural issues of the power sector, the challenges faced in implementation and operationalisation of OA as well as the provisions of the recently released Draft Electricity (Promoting renewable energy through Green Energy Open Access) Rules 2021 by the Ministry of Power. The roundtable had twenty discussants, which included representatives from Distribution Companies (DISCOMs), Regulatory Commissions, Sector Experts, Lawyers, Renewable Energy (RE) project developers and Open Access (OA) consumers.
Clean and affordable cooking is both a crucial public health and energy equity issue. Given the policy and investment push, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has been and will continue to be a major part of the solution in India. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has ensured near 100% connection penetration of LPG in the country today. PMUY continues to be one of the major social protection schemes, as was seen even during the COVID-19 crisis, where three free cylinders to PMUY beneficiaries were provided. Recently in the budget speech, the Finance minister announced that PMUY would be expanded to a further 1 Crore people. All of these suggest that PMUY, and indeed LPG, is here to stay and would be one of the prominent public instruments to ensure rural transition to clean cooking fuels; while an urban transition to piped natural gas and electric induction cooking is currently underway in parallel.
Prayas (Energy Group) and Centre for Policy Research organised the second roundtable on “Managing a fair transition away from coal in India’, on 20th & 21st January, 2021. This event followed the first iteration of the roundtable, held in December 2019, which served as a conversation starter on the transition away from coal that is already underway in the country. The transition discourse has since further evolved, with key analyses from several research groups and important policy notifications from central and state governments.
The second roundtable was convened with the agenda of discussing the emerging analyses and possible avenues of managing the transition in a timely and just manner. The two-day online event was split into moderated sessions to facilitate focused discussions and were based on the following broad themes:
Prayas (Energy Group) (PEG) organised the third edition of the two-day experience sharing workshop on 24th and 25th of September, 2020. Owing to the global Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown enforced thereafter, the event was held virtually this year, on the Zoom meeting platform. The event was attended by around 59 participants working in the electricity sector, representing twelve states. This included participation from various stakeholders such as NGOs, grass-root organisations, policy think tanks, and consumer activists.
As has been the practice over the previous workshops, conducted in 2017 and 2018, the event this year was also envisaged as a platform to discuss commonalities and differences, and share experiences, challenges, and strategies used in various states to engage with the power sector. It was understood from the experience over the past workshops that participants preferred more focused discussions on crucial topics, experienced across states. Given this and the constraints of a virtual event, the current year’s workshop hosted in-depth discussions on the following topics.
Residential electricity consumption in India is changing due to rapid electrification, improved supply, increasing urbanisation and growing incomes. However, there is a lack of data and understanding of how people use electricity. As India embraces the smart meter technology, there is an opportunity to bridge the information gap and use this smart meter data to understand the nature of residential electricity demand.
In this context, Prayas (Energy Group), Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), and CLASP organized a roundtable to bring together researchers and practitioners to deliberate on the opportunities that smart meters present for a better understanding of electricity demand and management strategies in the residential sector. PEG, CEEW, and CLASP have been collecting electricity consumption data, using smart meters, from a sample of households spread across different parts of India, under different initiatives. Insights from the data collected were presented at the roundtable to add context to the deliberations.