The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $132.8 million loan to finance 24X7 Power for All Meghalaya, a grid modernisation project unveiled by the Indian government and Meghalaya state government.
The ADB loan will be used to improve power quality and upgrade the distribution network with the aim to provide uninterrupted, quality, reliable, and affordable power supply to all electricity consumers.
Although Meghalaya has achieved 100% electrification, the state’s per capita electricity consumption of 832kWh is low compared to the national average of 1,122kWh in 2017, and remote rural areas in the state suffer from frequent power interruptions. Distribution networks are overloaded and substations in rural areas use outdated technology, resulting in high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses.
Some 23 substations will be constructed and 45 substations will be renovated and modernized.
Up to 2,214 kilometers of distribution lines will be installed and up to 180,000 electromechanical meters will be replaced with smart meters.
The loan will be supplemented by a $2 million grant from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. This grant will finance mini-grids that will improve power quality and support income generation, especially for women and other socially disadvantaged groups, using renewable energy sources in three villages and three schools.
The project will help develop a distribution sector road map and a financial road map for the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL).
ADB senior energy specialist for South Asia Jaimes Kolantharaj, said: “This project fully supports Meghalaya’s Power for All initiative in providing quality electricity 24 hours, 7 days a week to households, industries, businesses, and the public. By modernizing and improving the distribution network, the project will improve the operational efficiency of distribution system and the financial sustainability of distribution business in the state.
“Improving access to electricity and creating economic opportunities in rural areas will help address poverty, promote rural development, and reduce inequality.”