Privately run microgrids provide power to large swathes of rural areas where electric supply is erratic or nonexistent. But they face formidable challenges.
Pradeep Singh, 37, owns one of the two gas stations at Attrouli village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district, 65 km north of Lucknow. Barely 30 per cent of the diesel he sells goes into vehicles; the rest is bought by village residents to run diesel generator (DG) sets for both household and agricultural needs. The village gets barely four to six hours of power on average a day from the grid, with 10 hours being the maximum it has ever got. “Yahaan bijli ka koi theek nahi hai (power supply here is very erratic),” he says. “We usually get power after 11 pm for a few hours, rarely during the day.”