When electricity is worth saving 1

When electricity is worth saving

Karamjit Singh Rai, in the early final month, was given Rs 12,904 that became transferred to his financial institution account using the Punjab government. This wasn’t any loan waiver, but a cash subsidy was given for the use of much less strength and water for

irrigating his paddy crop harvested in mid-October.

In May, just before the paddy nursery sowing season, the 75-12 months-vintage farmer from Khusropur village in Jalandhar district was approached by Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) officials to avail of the state government’s ‘Paani Bachao Paisa Kamao’ (shop water, earn cash) scheme.


“I turned suspicious about their intentions first, but they controlled to steer me to put in a power meter on my 10-horsepower (HP) motor tube nicely,” says Rai, who is also the number (headman) of his village. Under the scheme, he was entitled to a month-to-month energy intake of two 000 kilowatt-hours (@200 gadgets in keeping with HP) for four months from June 20 to October 20, overlaying the duration among transplanting and harvesting of paddy. The unique part about the scheme is that now, not this power is made to be had loose — which is beside the case in Punjab — however, it was genuinely providing to pay farmers within the occasion in their ingesting more minor than the allotted quota.

During the four months, according to the virtual meter reading, Rai fed on only 4,774 devices of strength for watering the paddy on his seven-acre preserving. On his power “savings” of three 226 devices, he thus earned a subsidy of Rs 12,904 at Rs 4 per unit. “In my six many years of farming, I haven’t seen a scheme that pays us for something appropriate that we are doing. As a farmer, I recognize that it comes at a price even though strength is given unfastened. That price is of digging deeper for extracting groundwater, which ultimately falls only at the farmer,” he comments.

Surat Singh (76) from Sarwan village of Hoshiarpur district’s Mukerian Tehsil, too, has acquired Rs 5,008 as an electricity intake financial savings subsidy transferred at once to his account. “Many of my fellow farmers discouraged me, warning of massive power payments from installing meters. But I went ahead and am being rewarded,” feedbacks this 18-acre farmer with two five-HP motor tube wells that are now both metered.

According to him, the correct thing about the scheme is that farmers don’t lose even though they eat more than two hundred gadgets consistent with HP, as power is both ways free. “But in this case, I receive a commission for consuming much less. After installing a sprinkler irrigation gadget, I plan to lessen my strength and water consumption. It will, then, result in extra cash being transferred to my account,” he provides.

Paramjit Singh, a seven-acre farmer with a 7. Five-HP tube-properly connection in Kukar Pind village of Jalandhar district and tehsil has received Rs five 584 under the energy-financial savings incentive scheme. “Farmers don’t need free electricity. We won’t mind paying if the charge of our produce is constantly based on the Swaminathan Commission formula of 1. Five times actual production expenses. Farmers, furthermore, have an interest in saving water because we’re making investments of thousands of rupees in drilling deeper bores every 12 months,” he factors out.

The above three farmers are among 173 enrolled for direct advantage transfer payments below the Punjab authorities’ Paani Bachao Paisa Kamao scheme in the current Kharif paddy season. Together, they stored around 1.75 lakh devices of power—and, thereby, water—and acquired payments totaling Rs 7 lakh. These farmers belong to 30 villages that are provided electricity through six feeders in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.

For the ongoing rabi wheat season, any other 40 have enrolled. The monthly quota for availing bills against energy financial savings for this season has been constantly lower, at 50 gadgets in line with HP, instead of 200 devices in Kharif. The cause is that this is 4-5 times greater water-guzzling than wheat. “The truth is that they may get Rs four for each unit stored in a large incentive. We provided uninterrupted power from 8 AM to 4 PM during the paddy season to the farmers who had enrolled in the scheme. If more join, we can grow supply using some other two hours, with the self-assurance that they’ll nevertheless try and shop electricity usage,” A. Venu Prasad, chairman and dealing with a director of PSPCL, tells The Indian Express.

Punjab presently has a few 13.5 lakh tube wells, furnished strength via nearly 5,900 rural feeders. The annual consumption according to tube-well, having vehicles in most cases with electricity rankings between 7.5 and 12 HP, is reckoned at 8,000-nine,000 units. That discern it is, but, best, an estimate based on feeder delivery and not at the intake point. At an agricultural pump-set power tariff of Rs five.16 in keeping with the unit, fixed for 2018-19 and no longer charged to the farmer, the yearly value of unfastened energy in Punjab could exercise session to Rs five,500-6,300 crore.

The kingdom government’s electricity-financial savings incentive scheme has been designed in collaboration with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a research center affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. J-PAL—alongside experts from the World Bank, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), and the kingdom’s agriculture, irrigation, and soil conservation departments—likewise ventures an in-depth look at actual electricity/water use by farmers and the way it might exchange as soon as they are given a financial incentive to consume much less.

“Nobody is aware of how much electricity our farmers are genuinely consuming now and how much others are cashing in on the subsidy given in their call. That’s why we need metering inside the first region. Also, in lots of instances, tube-properly connections are inside the names of folks that are non-resident Indians or even not alive,” admits a PSPCL respectable.

“The current scheme can grow to be a sport-changer in a country where groundwater levels in many components are depleting by eighty-ninety cm every 12 months. With this reform, farmers may additionally start treating water as man or woman, no longer unusual, assets worth ingesting handiest drop via drop,” notes Rajan Aggarwal, senior research engineer and head of PAU’s soil & water engineering branch.


I am a writer, financial consultant, husband, father, and avid surfer. I am also a long-time entrepreneur, investor, and trader. For almost two decades, I have worked in the financial sector, and now I focus on making money through investing in stock trading.