The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it has approved a $132.8 million loan to modernize the power distribution network in Meghalaya.
The loan will be utilized to support a joint initiative of the Meghalaya government and the Government of India called ’24*7 Power for All Meghalaya’ that aims to provide continuous, reliable, and affordable power supply to all.
The bank stated that Meghalaya’s per capita power consumption of 832 kWh was low compared to the national average of 1,122 kWh in 2017 despite achieving 100% electrification. The bank added that remote rural areas of the state suffer from regular power disruptions. Besides that, the state’s aggregate technical and commercial losses are high due to the overloaded distribution network and the usage of substations with outdated technology in rural areas.
As a part of the project, 23 substations will be constructed, and another 45 substations will be upgraded. Besides that, smart meters will be installed by replacing antiquated electromechanical meters to benefit around 180,000 households. The project will also help install and upgrade 2,214 kilometers of distribution lines in three out of six circles in the state.
According to its press statement, ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will supplement the loan with a $2 million grant. The grant will be utilized to finance mini-grids to improve power quality and create economic opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups and women using renewable energy sources in three villages and three schools.
The bank said the project would help develop a financial plan and a distribution blueprint for the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL) to improve its capacity to operate and manage the distribution networks.
“This project fully supports Meghalaya’s Power for All initiative in providing quality electricity 24 hours and seven days a week to industries, households, businesses and the public. By modernizing and improving the distribution network, the project will improve the operational efficiency of the distribution system, and the financial sustainability of distribution business in the state,” said Jaimes Kolantharaj, ADB’s Senior Energy Specialist for South Asia.
Recently, the Asian Development Bank announced that it approved a $346 million (~₹26.92 billion) loan to help provide efficient and reliable power to rural agriculture customers in Maharashtra.
Last year, it approved a $451 million (~₹31.77 billion) loan to the state of Tamil Nadu for a transmission project that would enable better power transfer between the southern part of the Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor and the northern regions where there is higher power demand.
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.