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AP spending Rs 8,400 cr for free power to agri consumers

Solar energy has the potential to supply 9-hour day time free supply at low cost. It is decided to procure power from Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a Government of India enterprise to fulfill requirements in the agriculture sector

AP spending Rs 8,400 cr for free power to agri consumers
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Vijayawada: The State Government is spending nearly Rs 8,400 crore per year for supplying over 12,000 MU power free of cost to about 18 lakh agricultural consumers.

The government also spends Rs1,700 crore to make all the 6,663 agriculture feeders in the State able to extend nine hours 3-phase power supply during day time to agriculture services as on date. Apart from supply of free power to agriculture for the next 25 years, there is a need to reduce the average power purchase cost (Rs 4.36 per unit) at which agriculture power is being subsidised by the State Government to DISCOMS for free supply, according to officials.

Solar energy has the potential to supply 9-hour day time free supply at low cost. It is decided to procure power from Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a Government of India enterprise to fulfill requirements in the agriculture sector. The SECI has proposed to offer solar capacity of 9000 MW to AP, in three tranches at a price of Rs 2.49 per unit including trading margin, delivered at injection point connected to central transmission network in Rajasthan.

"The existing power purchase cost of DISCOMs is around Rs 4.39 per unit when compared to the proposed procurement from SECI, there is a reduction of almost Rs 1.90/unit and it amounts to a savings of Rs 3,230 crore per year," an official pointed out.

Minister for Energy, Forest and Environment Balineni Srinivasa Reddy who reviewed the general power supply position in the State particularly to the agriculture sector over teleconference, said on Thursday that the nine-hour free power scheme had given a bharosa (assurance/security) to farmers to protect their crops. It would definitely help to make agriculture a profitable activity and empower farmers.

He said the government also wants to make free power a permanent scheme to support farmers in future, he said. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy strongly believes in the fact that the State would move towards

progress only if the farmers are happy.

Energy Secretary Srikant Nagulapalli disclosed that the State Government had ordered to rename the existing AP Green Energy Corporation Ltd to AP Rural Agriculture Power Supply Corporation (APRAPSCom) and vest the responsibility of supplying free power to agriculture consumers on long-term basis. The Secretary also said that the 9-hours day time power supply for agriculture is very prestigious scheme for the power sector.

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