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The Government of India is proposing a bold and major scheme for monitoring, visualizing, and analyzing feeder level power supply across the nation, monitoring all the 11kV distribution feeders. In conjunction, a parallel scheme, Urja-Mitra, aims to notify consumers of outages, via SMS and online apps. Put together, these should be a game-changer for understanding the ground realities of the power sector. Our earlier analysis had indicated both the need for such schemes and the relatively low cost for the same.
In this Discussion Note, we analyse these programs, esp. feeder monitoring, and suggest a number of small tweaks to improve their functionality. Instead of just measuring the duration and frequency of outages, the intensity (load lost) and time periods (time these occur) are also very important, and easy to capture. While it may take a little while to achieve zero load-shedding, with such a program we should be able to take the first step towards almost zero unscheduled load-shedding.
Like other products of the Brookings Institution India Center, this is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues. The views are those of the author.