Person:
Banerjee, Sudeshna

Energy Unit, Sustainable Energy Department, World Bank
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Infrastructure economics; energy access; monitoring and evaluation
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Energy Unit, Sustainable Energy Department, World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
Sudeshna Banerjee is a Senior Economist in the Sustainable Energy Department of the World Bank. She has worked on energy and infrastructure issues in the South Asia and Africa departments in both operations and analytic assignments.  She focuses on project economics, monitoring and evaluation, and on a broad range of energy sector issues including energy access, energy subsidies, renewable energy, and sector assessments.  Ms. Banerjee holds a Ph.D in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.A. and B.A. degrees in Economics from Delhi University.
Citations 8 Scopus

Publication Search Results

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More Power to India : The Challenge of Electricity Distribution

2014-06-18, Pargal, Sheoli, Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh

This report assesses progress in implementing the government of India's power sector reform agenda and examines the performance of the sector along different dimensions. India has emphasized that an efficient, resilient, and financially robust power sector is essential for growth and poverty reduction. Almost all investment-climate surveys point to poor availability and quality of power as critical constraints to commercial and manufacturing activity and national competitiveness. Further, more than 300 million Indians live without electricity, and those with power must cope with unreliable supply, pointing to huge unsatisfied demand and restricted consumer welfare. This report reviews the evolution of the Indian power sector since the landmark Electricity Act of 2003, with a focus on distribution as key to the performance and viability of the sector. While all three segments of the power sector (generation, transmission, and distribution) are important, revenues originate with the customer at distribution, so subpar performance there hurts the entire value chain. Persistent operational and financial shortcomings in distribution have repeatedly led to central bailouts for the whole sector, even though power is a concurrent subject under the Indian constitution and distribution is almost entirely under state control. Ominously, the recent sharp increase in private investment and market borrowing means power sector difficulties are more likely to spill over to lenders and affect the broader financial sector. Government-initiated reform efforts first focused on the generation and transmission segments, reflecting the urgent need for adding capacity and evacuating it and the complexity of issues to be addressed at the consumer interface. Consequently, distribution improvements have lagged, but it is now clear that they need to be a priority. This report thus analyzes the multiple sources of weakness in distribution and identifies the key challenges to improving performance in the short and medium term. The report is aimed at policy makers and government officials, academics, and civil society in the fields of energy, governance, and infrastructure economics and finance, as well as private investors and lenders in the energy arena.

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Beyond Crisis : The Financial Performance of India's Power Sector

2015, Khurana, Mani, Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh

At the end of 2011, the Indian power sector found itself in financial crisis, just a decade after the 2001 bailout of state electricity boards (SEBs) by the central government. Bankrupt state power distribution utilities in several states were unable to pay their bills or repay their debts. Despite the passage of the landmark 2003 Electricity Act and implementation of a broad set of reforms over the past decade, the sector today is looking at another rescue from the center, four times larger than before. This financial rescue scheme amounts to about Rs 1.9 trillion ($42 billion) and was instigated by the nonperforming assets of the banks and other financial institutions. The Electricity Act was envisaged to create independent companies functioning on commercial principles, but they are still far away from that goal. This report presents a diagnostic of the financial and operational performance of segments in the power sector value chain between adoption of the Electricity Act, 2003, and 2011, including analysis of the factors that contributed to the recent crisis. The report focuses on efficiency and productivity, whether performance has improved over time, and which states have emerged as performance leaders. Analysis of this kind is not new or unique, but this report aims to integrate historical performance, the current situation, future projections of the impact of worsening sector finances, and the actions that need to be taken to check the downturn. The report draws primarily from utility data collected by the Power Finance Corporation in successive years on utilities operational and financial performance. The Power Finance Corporation data were collated into a single database with the addition of various operational parameters at the plant level and the utility level from the Central Electricity Authority.

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Lighting Rural India : Load Segregation Eexperience in Selected States

2014-02, Khanna, Ashish, Mukherjee, Mohua, Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh, Saraswat, Kavita, Khurana, Mani

Socioeconomic development of the rural populace is critical to India achieving its stated objective of inclusive growth. It is widely accepted that access to a reliable and sufficient power supply is a key enabler of rural economic growth. Traditionally, India's rural power supply has been restricted by having feeders to villages serve both agriculture and household loads. Because agriculture power supply is rationed by the distribution utilities, residential consumers often suffer from inadequate service. The study findings reveal that segregated systems can be used to manage peak demand, identify and reduce losses previously hidden in agricultural consumption, improve power supply to rural domestic consumers, and bolster socioeconomic development. Enabling the segregated system with information technology (IT) can further improve monitoring and control and bring about transparency and efficiency: Agricultural consumption on which the subsidy is based can be exactly determined, even without consumer metering, and data collected from the system can be used for strategic decision making and operational improvement.

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Power for All : Electricity Access Challenge in India

2015, Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh, Singh, Bipul, Mayer, Kristy, Samad, Hussain

India has led the developing world in addressing rural energy problems. By late 2012, the national electricity grid had reached 92 percent of India s rural villages, about 880 million people. In more remote areas and those with geographically difficult terrain, where grid extension is not economically viable, off-grid solutions using renewable-energy sources for electricity generation and distribution have been promoted. The positive results of the country s rural energy policies and institutions have contributed greatly to reducing the number of people globally who remain without electricity access. Yet, owing mainly to its large population, India has by far the world s largest number of households without electricity. More than one-quarter of its population or about 311 million people, the vast majority of whom live in poorer rural areas, still lack an electricity connection; less than half of all households in the poorest income group have electricity. Among households with electricity service, hundreds of millions lack reliable power supply.

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Elite Capture : Residential Tariff Subsidies in India

2015, Mayer, Kristy, Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh

India - home to one of the world's largest populations without electricity access - has set the ambitious goal of achieving universal electrification by 2017. 311 million people, a quarter of its population, remains without power, despite substantial efforts to increased affordable access for the poor. This study focuses on India's residential electricity subsidies, as viewed through a poverty lens. Addressing these issues is especially urgent since the residential electricity sector accounts for nearly a quarter of India's total electricity consumption. Comparison of two survey rounds (2004/05 and 2009/10) was used to assess changes in electricity consumption over time. The study approach analyzed subsidy distribution by both below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) grouping, as well as income quintile, to allow for the wide variation in poverty rates states. The key findings in this study are that 87 percent of subsidy payments go to APL households instead of to the poor, and over half of subsidy payments are directed to the richest two-fifths of households. Furthermore, these estimates are conservative because they assume that BPL and APL households are accurately identified. Because APL households tend to consume more electricity, subsidies are skewed toward the upper quintiles. The major driver of these outcomes is tariff design. Few states have highly concessional BPL tariffs; in most, all households are eligible for a subsidy on at least a portion of their monthly electricity consumption. Combined with the fact that the poorest households consume relatively small amounts of electricity means that wealthier consumers with electricity access are typically eligible for just as much, if not more, subsidy as poorer ones. India's states have a variety of available options for improving their subsidy performance. Certain states model good practices that other states could consider adopting, for example, Punjab, Sikkim, Chattisgarh, and others. States may consider four model tariff structures that meet the twin, medium-term policy goals of high subsidy targeting and low cost. These are (i) creating BPL tariff schedules and eliminating subsidies from other schedules, (ii) delivering subsidies through cash transfers instead of tariffs, (iii) creating a volume differentiated tariff (VDT), and (iv) creating a lifeline tariff and removing subsidies from other tariffs.