Electricity distribution to the end consumer in India needs reform in order to achieve the target of electricity to all by 2019, says the World Bank.

“Power distribution in India needs sweeping reforms if it is to bring back the country to a high growth trajectory and meet its goal of expanding access to electricity to all by 2019,” the Bank report released on Tuesday said.

Today, India’s annual per capita power sector consumption is at around 800 units, which is among the lowest levels in the world, the World Bank said in a statement.

World Bank’s latest report named — More Power to India: The Challenge of Distribution — is a review of the Indian power sector across key areas of access, utility performance, and financial sustainability.

The study has identified electricity distribution to the end consumer as the weak link in the sector.

The report recommends freeing utilities and regulators from external interference, increasing accountability and enhancing competition in the sector to move it to a higher level of service delivery.

Total accumulated losses in the sector stood at $25 billion in 2011. These losses are concentrated among discoms and bundled utilities — State Electricity Boards (SEBs) and the State Power Departments, the report said.

“Revitalising the power sector by improving the performance of distribution utilities, and ensuring that players in the sector are subjected to financial discipline is the need of the hour,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.

By tackling the losses through a focused approach, it should be possible to make a marked difference in sector performance, the report added.

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