Energy Situation in Bihar


Bihar is a States and territories of India in North India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at 38,202 sq mi (98,940 km2) and 3rd largest by population. It is bounded by Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, Northern part of West Bengal to the east and by Jharkhand to the south.[1]

Status of the Power Sector

Situation of power availability in Bihar was never rosy, but with the separation of Jharkhand in the year 2000, it became particularly critical beacuse most of the power generation plants fell into the newly formed state. With Jharkhand, went the bounty of natural resources and mines which minimised the chances of Bihar generating its own electricity using coal. Currently, Bihar is dependent on National Thermal Power Corporation Plants and Jharkhand Electricity Board for power supply. But there is still a wide demand- supply gap that needs to be bridged, one glaring proof of the same is the fact that Bihar’s power system has a peak of about 1500 MW under the constrained demand scenario and the availablity is about 950 MW. Only 52.8 % of villages and 6 % of households of the state are electrified, leaving about 85 % of the population with no accaess to electricity.[2]

Current Electricity Scenario in Bihar

Attribute Value
State Installed Capacity 590 MW
of which thermal 540 MW
(Barauani) 320 MW
(Muzaffarpur) 220 MW
Hydro (Kosi) 50 MW
Share of Chhattisgarh Stations 1379 MW
AT&C Losses 14.45%
Energy Shortage 16.4%
Peak Deficit 27.6%
Per Capita Consumption 93 kWh
National Consumption 650 kWh

(Source: 3rd North East & East Power Summit 2010, CEA and PFC)

Energy Capacity

Bihar gets an allocated share of 1233 MW of power from the central sector projects and draws an unallocated share of 28 MW. The state owned extisting power stations generate only 584.6 MW. Looking at the table below, it is clear that majority of this comes from the thermal power stations.[3]

Power Capacity in Bihar (As of December 2010; in MW)

Thermal Hydro RES* Total
Central 1131.7 129.4 0 1261.1
State 530.0 0 54.6 584.6
Private 0 0 9.5 9.5
Total 1661.7 129.0 64.1 1855.0
  • RES: Renewable Energy Sources (mainly small hydro)

(Source:Power Crisis in Bihar, Electrical Monitor, EM News Bureau, August 01, 2011)

Energy Supply

Bihar ranks second on the list of the least electrified states with 50% of its villages still being in the dark due to the absence of transmission wires there.[4]

Energy supply Position- Peak

Year Requirement (MW) Availablity (MW) Deficit (MW) Deficit (%)
2002-03 1389 1325 64 14.6
2003-04 973 788 185 19.0
2004-05 980 980 0 0
2005-06 1314 1116 198 15.1
2006-07 1399 1162 237 16.9
2007-08 1882 1243 639 34.0
2008-09 1842 1333 509 27.0
2009-10 2249 1509 740 32.0

(Source: Road map for development of power sector in Bihar, Government of India, 2007; Power Crisis in Bihar, Electrical Monitor, EM News Bureau, August 01, 2011)

Energy Consumption

The annual per capita consumption in Bihar is currently at 95 units, against a national average of 717, according to the CEA general review 2009.[5] As per the statistics provided by the Energy Department, Government of Bihar on its, per capita energy consumption in pre- division Bihar was 152 units per year which came down to 60 units per year in the post- division period.

Status of Renewable Energy

At present, the installed capacity of Bihar (as of December 2010) is 1855.23 MW, which comprises 1661.70 MW (90 %) from thermal, 129.43 MW (7 %) from hydropower, only 64.10 MW (3 %) from renewable energy (mainly from small hydro and biomass).[6]

Rural Electrification

Only 52.8 % of villages and 6 % of households of the state are electrified, leaving about 85% of the population with no accaess to electricity.

While urban areas are still better positioned with respect to the power availablity, the situation is particularly grim for rural areas. Other than the general low availability of power in the state, the rural areas face additional roadblocks like:

  • High Transmission and Distribution Losses: Transmission and distribution losses of electricity have been higher in rural areas when compared with urban areas. Due to long dispersed distribution lines, poor infrastructure and low paying capacity; even the distribution costs more.

Transmission and Distribution Losses

Year Transmission & distribution loss (%)
2003-04 36.66
2004-05 38.88
2005-06 43.96
2006-07 50.67
2007-08 48.79

(Source: Power Scenario at a Glance, January 2011, CEA)

  • Subsidies: The electricity supply in rural areas is highly subsidised.
  • Low Collection of Revenues: From the past trends, it has been established that the rural population is willing to pay for the electricity provided they have a reliable and continuous supply of power. But the revenue collection from the rural areas has not only been low but has been dipping with time. This, in a way, reflects the quality of electricity supply in rural areas. Due to poor revenue earnings, the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) did not adopt a positive growth policy for rural infrastructure or power supply.
  • Lower Technical & Operational Efficiency: Due to political interference, electrical boards operate at a lower technical and operational efficiency in rural areas. Large number of unauthorised connections and power thefts further add to it. The inefficiency is confirmed by the frequently interrupted and poor quality of power supply is rural areas despite they being connected to the electrical grid.[7]

Constrains and Opportunities

The below mentioned points sum up the power situation in Bihar:

  • Wide demand- supply gap
  • Low capital availablity
  • Lack of infrastraucture to support the centralized power supply
  • Low availablity of reliable conventional fossil fuel supply

Whilst these points do not hint towards a promising and upcoming picture of the power situation in Bihar (if pursued the conventional way), the state has several geographic and climatic advantages to harness the renewable energy. Bihar is blessed with fertile soil that spreads along the mighty river Ganges. The average annual temeperature in Bihar lies between 14- 28 degree celsius and the average annual rainfall is 1205 millimeters. Thus the limitations and the resource availablities necessitate that alternate and innovative energy access initiatives be brought onboard.

The table below enlists the conditions prevalent in Bihar and the requirements that they pose on the power supply.

Situation Requirement
Exceptionally high rate of growth in the recent years & future Reliable energy supply to support it
Available Biomass is transported out of the state In- house conditions to utilize the biomass
Majority of the population is below poverty line Low cost/ affordable power
Scattered but large number of small scale commercial activities Reliable & flexible power supply systems
Low investment flow Innovatve techniques to lure investors
Low infrastructure development Increased support from private entities for infrastructre development
High population density and spread Zoom- in to ensure better penetration and reach for power distribution
High transmission losses Local micro grids, local management of resources

Keeping all these requirements in mind, one possible solution for Bihar seems to be the decentralized electricity generation.This will prove particularly beneficial for remote areas where grid connectivity is not possible. The decentralized power generation can make use of different renewable energy sources available in the state. Since Bihar is an agriculture based economy, rural areas have readily available biomass; hilly and coatsal areas could be utilized for wind energy and large surfaces in the rural areas can be used for solar energy generation.[8]

Policy Framework, Laws & Regulations

  • Bihar Policy for Promotion of New & Renewable Energy Sources 2011
  • Renewable Energy Action Plan for Bihar; WISE, DFID; 2011
  • Bihar Policy for Promotion of New & Renewable Energy Sources 2009
  • Policy Guidelines for Private Sector Participation for Developing Non- Conventional Energy Sources 2003.

Institutions Involved

  • Bihar State Investment Promotion Board: looks at the project proposals and grants approvals for setting up renewable energy plants.
  • Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA): The projects are evaluated and recommended upon by BREDA.
  • Bihar State Elecricity Board (BSEB): Post installation, the sale and transmission of power are handled by the BSEB.
  • Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC): comes into the picture to decide on supply and pricing.[9]

Further Information

  • India Energy Situation


  2.  Greenpeace, 2012. Empowering Bihar: Policy Pathway for Energy Access- A Greenpeace Report, Bengaluru. p38
  3.  Power Crisis in Bihar, Electrical Monitor, EM News Bureau, August 01, 2011
  4.  Rural Electrification Corporation Report 2004
  5.  17th Power Survey of India data 2007-08
  6.  Renewable Energy Potential Assessment and Renewable Energy Action Plan for Bihar, 2011
  7.  Greenpeace, 2012. Empowering Bihar: Policy Pathway for Energy Access- A Greenpeace Report, Bengaluru. p38
  8.  Greenpeace, 2012. Empowering Bihar: Policy Pathway for Energy Access- A Greenpeace Report, Bengaluru. p38
  9.  Greenpeace, 2012. Empowering Bihar: Policy Pathway for Energy Access- A Greenpeace Report, Bengaluru. p38
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