Billions without power.
Worldwide, 1.4 billion people still have no access to power. 400 million of them live in India. 150,000 of India’s telecom towers lack reliable power access. And the existing power grid is far from reliable even in large cities.
Despite the lack of power, 550 million people out of the unelectrified 1.4 billion own a mobile phone. The telecom footprint of the world has vastly outgrown the power supply.
It’s not realistic to expect that rural areas will gain access to reliable grid in the foreseeable future. Institutions and governments around the world are finally beginning to accept that centralised power generation and transmission is not up to the task.
Recognising that the traditional grid will never reach areas that lack power today, regulators and policy makers have concluded that by 2030 only 30% of rural communities will be connected through the grid.
The electrification rate in rural India is 52%, and more than half of telecom towers have unreliable grid or no grid access at all.
Rural communities thirst for affordable power because it makes social and economic development possible – from lighting up homes and enabling shops to stay open after dusk, to modern communication and infrastructure.
Telecom operators need reliable power because energy has become the largest cost driver. In emerging markets, operators spend 40% of their Opex on Power and Fuel.
So far, the massive problem of rural power access has so far been addressed in an ad hoc and piecemeal way. There are local initiatives by not-for-profit organisations to provide basic power utilities such as lighting to communities. And there are hybrid-powered mobile base stations in India, but most of them still fail to deliver meaningful cost savings – in large part because of the substantial Capex requirements, but also because power is not a core business for telecom infrastructure companies.
Until now, there has not been a new type of power company to address the problems of rural power access and serve both industrial and residential customers in emerging markets. OMC aims to change that fact.