1. Agriculture World

18.37 lakh Farmers Get Free Electricity from Andhra Pradesh Government

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
Solar Panels In A Farm
Solar Panels In A Farm

The government of Andhra Pradesh has stated that it would begin purchasing power from the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in 2024. Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy has said that power would be supplied to farmers free of cost for nine hours during the daytime.

To supply the Andhra Government has also upgraded its agricultural solar feeders for Rs 1,700 crore to provide free power to the farm sector. The network will be able to manage supplies over the next 30 years as a result of the upgrading, which is the time for which the government intends to continue the free electricity supply plan. During the Kharif and rabi seasons, 18 lakh farmers received free electricity.

State Energy Secretary N Srikant stated that obtaining solar electricity from SECI will make it more economical to move through with the project to supply free power to the agriculture sector for nine hours a day for the next 25 years on a sustainable basis. According to authorities, SECI's projected rates are the lowest in the country, and transactions would be transparent because it is a Central Public Sector Undertaking. Since September of this year, neighbouring Tamil Nadu has been purchasing power from SECI at a rate of Rs 2.69 per unit.

According to authorities, the arrangement was concluded after the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission approved it. The Andhra government now purchases power at a cost of Rs 4.36 per unit and offers it free of charge to 18.37 lakh farmers. To make this more sustainable, the government intended to build a 10,000 MW solar power plant under the state-run Green Energy Corporation Limited (GECL) that would provide power for Rs 2.49 per unit for the next 25 years.

However, due to SECI offering to sell the electricity to the Andhra govt at the same price from 2024 onwards under its manufacturing-linked initiative, this has actually led the Andhra Pradesh govt to abandon the idea of setting up an exclusive solar farm just made for the farming sector.

Officials stated that changes in the rules governing Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), state transmission costs, and central transmission charges would have an impact on the state's solar project programme. However, by acquiring electricity through SECI, the state may save around Rs 2,260 crore, which includes the cost of power evacuation infrastructure.

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