According to reports, a renewal energy company, OMC Power, is lighting up rural parts of Uttar Pradesh, delivering solar-charged batteries to homes in an out-of-the-box move that promises cheap and uninterrupted power supply.
A startup company floated a year ago by three former employees of Ericsson, is supplying electricity to about 3,000 households in remote areas of Hardoi district where conventional power lines are yet to reach. The company’s promoters hope to energise another
The power distribution model involves generation of electricity at an 18-kw solar plant at Jangaon, in Hardoi, from where it reaches villagers’ homes in rechargeable batteries contained in boxes, popular called ‘Bijli Box’ (power in a box).
“One charge is enough for 12 hours. Every evening at 6, our employees collect these boxes from the generating unit and deliver them to their subscribers in nearby villages on diesel vehicles,” said OMC Power’s chief operating officer Rohit Chandra.
The Bijli Box-weighing about 2 kg and holding an electronic circuit and accompanying software besides the battery-can power a couple of bulbs, a fan and a specially-made television set. The company has employed youth from the villages to replace the spent boxes with charged ones at daybreak.
In OMC’s model, there is no security cash deposit or fixed cost and subscribers pay on the basis of usage. The charge for a single electric lantern is 5 a day or 120 every month. Charge for the box varies from 250 to 500 per month.
“Our first plant came up in June and we have already garnered a subscriber base of 3,000 households in and around the village. Another three are ready. By the end of the year we hope to cover another 27,000 households,” the company’s chief executive officer Anil Raj said.
OMC Power plans to set up 500 units of 18-kw each over the next couple of years, which will produce enough power for about 1.5 million households.
The Bijli Box has started transforming the lives of villagers. For 0Deepika Singh, a teacher from Jangaon, it means her students will not have to study by candlelight. “Earlier, we could not use any electronic equipment. During exams, students were forced to use candlelight. However, with the Bijli Box it’s different now.” Singh said, adding, “The society will be educated when its children are educated. Farmers can now use electric pumps for irrigation, resulting in better crops.”
Brijor Singh, a villager, is happy that he can now use electronic devices and charge his cell phone at home.
“The light is milky white. The pressure on the eye will be less when kids are studying. The noise from the fan is low and the child who studies is not disturbed, said Radhesham Trivedi, an elderly farmer. “Our community, family and village will be educated. When we are educated, there will be development. If there is development, whatever we are doing – service or agriculture – will give a good income.”
OMC’s Chandra said the company’s power-supply model is unique and cost-effective.
“At present, we are researching with boxes that are capable of running irrigation pumps and are also toying with the idea of introducing electric-based transit vehicles that will connect bus stations with villages,” Chandra said, adding that the firm is also considering an electric cycle that can be rented on a per day basis.