The state is located along the corridor to North East and South East Asia and plays an important role in facilitating and promoting regional electricity trade, as it already does with Bangladesh, said a World Bank official.
Economic growth in Bengal has resulted in an increasing demand for electricity at the rate of 4.5% over the past five years. The number of consumers served by WBSEDCL has more than doubled over the past six years to almost 20 million. However, this growth has also strained the finances of distribution companies.
“The financial stability of power companies is essential to provide efficient electricity. The pandemic has affected the financial health of distribution companies in India, ”said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “The West Bengal Electricity Distribution and Grid Modernization Project will strengthen distribution grids, invest in smart grid technologies and ensure the financial viability of WBSEDCL,” he added.
In May 2020, the Amphan supercyclone caused significant damage to the state’s electrical infrastructure. The project thus aims to strengthen the information and communication systems of the WBSEDCL to allow an immediate response to similar crises.
“The project will support investments in the network to improve operational efficiency and reduce losses. It will invest in smart grid technologies for better load management and better integration of distributed energy resources, ”said Rohit Mittal, World Bank task team leader for the project.