Smart Power India, CESU ink MoU to improve electricity service in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation, working in the area of rural electrification, and Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) have announced their partnership today to work on a model to improve electricity access and reliability in rural areas in Odisha.

To mark the beginning of this partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Mr. Manoj Kumar Singh, Senior General Manager, CESU and Mr. Jaideep Mukherji, CEO, SPI.

SPI and CESU will work together to develop and implement a Model Distribution Zone in a select area to demonstrate improvements in electricity service by enhancing reliability and customer services. The learnings and impact from this initiative will be further used to address challenges in enhancing electricity access, providing high-quality electricity service and stimulating demand for electricity in rural areas. The program will measure the outcome based on these indicators with an aim to improve the viability of electricity distribution service in rural areas of the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Jaideep Mukherji, CEO, SPI said, “It is commendable to see the lead that the Odisha government has taken in reforming the power sector over the years. However, apart from enhancing the supply of electricity to the rural areas, it is imperative to improve the quality of electricity supply and customer service if we have to make electricity distribution viable for DISCOMS. We are excited to partner with CESU to develop and implement a model that will address challenges and provide probable solutions which can then be replicated in the rest of the state. Our aim through this program is to demonstrate best practices in the last mile rural service delivery under CESU’s management.”

Mr. Manoj Kumar Singh, Senior General Manager, CESU while sharing his views on the partnership said, “The SPI – CESU partnership will aim to design a financially viable roadmap to ensure reliable electricity supply in rural areas, through an innovative community-based strategy enabled by technology, in delivering last-mile services, to enhance customer experience.”

SPI has been actively working towards developing scalable sustainable models that can improve rural electrification in India. It closely works with various state governments and other stakeholders to explore and design innovative strategies to address their inherent challenges.

Odisha has been one of the few states to have provided 24×7 power to all its customers for many years now. Over the last five years, the state power sector has also been able to enhance reliability and supply to rural consumers by leveraging the private sector, using the input-based franchisee model in select areas. While there has been considerable progress in enhancing access, there have been critical problems related to rural electricity supply in terms of high losses incurred by DISCOMs and service issues faced by the customers.

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