ELECTRICITY IN LAKSHADWEEP  The electrification of Lakshadweep islands was first taken up during the Second Five Year Plan period and Rs.1 lakh was provided for the said purpose.  Minicoy was the first island to be electrified on 15.09.1962 by installing two Diesel Generating Sets for a total capacity of 91 KW.  Kavaratti was the second island to be electrified in 1964; remaining islands were electrified subsequently and all the inhabited islands including Bangaram were electrified by the end of Sixth Five-Year Plan.  The power is supplied in Lakshadweep through diesel generating sets.  The diesel generating sets are of various capacities ranging from 24 to 400 KW.  The power generating systems in all the Islands are stand-alone systems. There is no inter island connection in the supply grid. 

  Initially the power supply was limited to six hours which continued till 1982-83.  However, in 1983 round the clock power supply was started in all the Islands. Union Territory of Lakshadweep has achieved 100% electrification; all houses have been electrified and connection is available on demand. Self meter reading is a success from 1988. The generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Lakshadweep are managed by Lakshadweep Electricity Department, with headquarters at Kavaratti and is headed by an Executive Engineer.


Since electricity is generated through diesel generators in all the Islands, the fuel is transported in barrels from Calicut in Kerala to the individual Islands and stored there.  Lakshadweep Electricity Department is lifting about 66 lakh litres of HSD oil per annum from Indian Oil Corporation Depot at Calicut, where oil is loaded into 200 ltrs. barrels and the barrels are then transported by barges, owned by Lakshadweep Administration, to the off- shore of the reef.  The barrels are again unloaded on barge for transportation to the jetties at the islands.  On land they are transported by small trucks from Jetty to the island stockyard and stored there.  The whole process of transportation is tedious, cumbersome and costly.  Proposal for setting up Oil Storage Tanks in the islands is pending for last several years with the Ministry of  Petroleum   and Natural Gas. With great persuasion, in March, 2001 one team headed by Shri Mohit Sinha, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas along with officers from Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. visited and inspected the sites. They have prepared the estimates costing  Rs. 4.39 Crores for Kavaratti and Rs. 4.27 Crores for Minicoy for setting up Oil Storage installations in the above two islands and submitted to the Ministry.  Setting up of storage facilities in the islands may be done by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.,  as done elsewhere in the country; otherwise the Administration has to locate required amount for the above purposes.   The cost per kWh generation comes to Rs. 7.32; however, it is provided to the consumers at the subsidised rate of Rs.4/- (average) per kWh. Electricity tariff  was last  revised  in  April  2000.   There  are 14,196  domestic,   233  industrial  connection and 2,729 commercial consumers in the Islands. Besides, 3736 Street Lights also maintained by the Department. 


  The distribution of electricity in Union Territory of Lakshadweep is through 11 kV and 415 volts systems.  The total installed capacity of all islands put together is 9922 KW; in 2000 - 01 generation was 196.07 lakh units.  Transmission and Distribution loss was a major problem before Electricity Department of Union Territory of Lakshadweep.  However due to efforts made over the last few years the transmission and distribution loss has now been reduced to 10.18% which is the lowest in India; this has been made possible by replacing over head lines with under ground cable, adoption of electronic energy meters and  modernisation  of   power systems.  It is expected that the T & D loss will be brought down to 8% by the end of the ninth five-year plan.

  The Ninth five-year Plan (1997-2002) was formulated on the basis of the load projections made by 15th Power Survey conducted by the Ministry of Power. An amount of Rs. 1500.65 lakhs was earmarked for Ninth Plan for the Power Sector out of which an amount of Rs.961.355 lakhs have already been spent up to 2000-2001. An amount of Rs. 272.76 lakhs is earmarked for the current financial year. The major thrust given in the Ninth Plan was for qualitative improvement of the power supply and augmentation of capacity to meet the increasing demand of electricity which is increasing 9% per annum.

  During ninth plan, capacity of 3500 kW has been created so far besides undertaking under ground cabling of  105.156 Kms, upgrading the generators and distribution network.



  Lakshadweep is the land of sun and seas.  The sun is available throughout the year save for a couple of months during monsoon.  Solar Photovoltaic power is engineering a quite revolution in the islands. So far 4 numbers of SPV Power plants have been installed in 4 islands generating 185 kW of energy excluding one 100 kW SPV Power Plant under installation at Minicoy. The Union Territory Administration has taken an ambitious project to meet 20% of its demand (1MW) through solar energy. In order to achieve the goal, work orders to set up SPV Power Plants at 7 islands having capacity of 700 kW which costs about Rs. 18.41 crores have since been issued to Bharat Heavy Electricals, Bangalore.  The Engineers from BHEL along with Mr. Len Wright, Advanced Energy Systems, Australia has completed site survey at all the islands. Progress of implementation of the project has been reviewed in the meeting held in the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources under the chairman ship of the Adviser ( Power Group) in the Ministry which Shri T.M. Balakrishnan, Secretary (Power), U.T., Executive Engineer (Ele) and officers of BHEL, Bangalore were present.  Next meeting is proposed to be held in October/ November at Kavaratti. In the review meeting it was decided that the plants at Kavaratti, Kadmat, Agatti and Andrott will be commissioned by December, 2001 and the plants at Kalpeni, Chetlat and Amini are commissioned by May, 2001. The SPV modules have already received at Kavaratti and Kadmat.  P.W.D has to complete the civil work on top priority basis. Out of Rs. 18.41 crores, Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Source will finance Rs. 12.27 crores. Cost of generation from the SPV Power Plant without considering  the grant from the Ministry will be Rs. 3.11  per unit. It is estimated that 1,35,632/- units will generate from each plant. The power generated is grid interactive and hence to that extent it reduces dependence on diesel generation. The SPV Power Plants at Bitra island (25 Kw), Bangaram (10 Kw) and Kadmat (50 Kw) are successfully run and meeting the power needs of islands.  There are about 729 SPV Street lights in this U.T.   The SPV Lighting system at the Rajeev Gandhi Memorial Children’s Park at Kavaratti, the SPV system at Kavaratti helipad and the one at Children’s park, Minicoy considerably reduces the pressure on Diesel Generating sets.  Installation of 100 KWp Grid Interactive SPV Power Plant at the island of Kiltan, which costs Rs.3,40,11,000/-, has been commissioned successfully.  Second 100 KW SPV Power Plant at Minicoy costing Rs.2,98,04,000/- is under trial run and ready for inauguration.  Power supply in Bitra and Bangaram will be 100% solar with in the next couple of months with the augmentation of existing capacities to 50 KW each for which approval  has since been obtained from the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources.  Under NCSE Sector, a sum of Rs.22.00 crores has been earmarked for the Ninth Five-Year Plan.


  It is also proposed to utilise solar energy for drying up copra and fish, the only produce from the islands, through installing Solar Dryers. Drying process through Solar Dryers will be hygienic and fast and will fetch remunerative prices for the farmers.

  Thermal energy from the sun is also being put to use in the islands.  Supply of drinking water is the second biggest problem faced by the islanders.  Waste Heat Recovery  Fresh  Water  Generator  of  10  Cub. Meter  capacity  which  runs  on  heat produced by the diesel generators installed at  Kavaratti, on experimental basis, meet a portion of  water needs.   100 SPV powered microbial water treatment plants have been installed in the islands which have reduced the incidence of water borne diseases like dysentery, cholera etc. considerably.

  About 6500 Solar Lanterns are already in use  and are in great demand for use in sea-going vessels.   Coconut husks, shells and fronds pose a major waste disposal problem in the islands and their disposal by burning in the open causes environmental degradation.  The non utilisation of hidden bio-energy results in economic loss to the Nation.  Work on installation of 250 KW biomass gasifier which will be running on the above wastes from coconut is nearing completion at Kavaratti.  

Three more such units are in the pipe  line and will be installed at Andrott (200 KW), Kalpeni (100 KW) and Amini (200 KW) after watching the performance of the project now under installation.   Production cost of  power from the gasifier will be around Rs. 2.50 per unit as against Rs. 7.32 for diesel power.  The ashes from the gasifier, rich in potash can be utilised as fertilizer for the coconut palms.


  In Lakshadweep, the Department of Electricity is the nodal department for implementation of projects under ‘POWER’ & ‘NON CONVENTIONAL ENERGY SOURCES’. The Department has mainly the following functions:

1.            Generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in all islands in    the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

2.            Collection of revenue from the consumers.

3.            Maintenance of Proforma Accounts of the Department.

4.            Internal electrification of Govt. buildings for and on behalf of L.P.W.D.

5.            Implementation of Non Conventional Energy Sources Projects in the Union

         Territory of Lakshadweep.

6.      Implementation  of  Integrated   Rural  Energy   Programme   in  the  Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

  The Ministry of Home Affairs in their O.M. F.No.4/9/54/AC-II dated 05.08.1999 conveyed their approval for taking up the schemes for electrification of Lakshadweep Islands by taking into consideration the strategic importance and economic backwardness of the remote area notwithstanding the fact that the schemes are not likely to be remunerative especially under the existing system of power generation with diesel generators.  The electrification of all the 11 inhabited islands have been completed by the end of December, 1982 as shown below:

Name of Island              Date of electrification


Minicoy                                    15.09.1962.

Kavaratti                                  24.01.1964.

Amini                                       06.05.1966.

Andrott                                    06.08.1966.

Kalpeni                                    06.07.1968.

Agatti                                       28.03.1969.

Kadmat                                    31.03.1970.

Kiltan                                       30.03.1971.

Chetlat                                     20.04.1974.

Bangaram                                 14.03.1974.

Bitra                                         08.12.1982.

  The Electricity Department was declared as a Commercial Department from 1st  April, 1961.  The Division has to render the monthly account which is maintained on CPWD System of accounting and Proforma Accounts showing the working results of each year annually which is to be audited and certified by the Accountant General of Kerala.

  Initially, power supply was provided for a limited period of 6 to 12 hours till 1982/83 in all the islands except Kavaratti where 24 hours power supply was provided from 1964 onwards itself.  Round the clock power supply was provided in all the islands during 1982-83, except Bitra where 12 hours power supply only was provided.  In Bitra 24 hours power supply was provided with effect from December, 1988.

               ORGANISATIONAL SET UP:-

  Initially, Electricity Department was functioning as a part of Lakshadweep Public Works Department.  It was in December, 1972 that an officer from Central Water and Power Commission was deputed to fill the post of Assistant Executive Engineer.  Though the Head quarter office of the Electricity Department was at Kavaratti, it was designated as Electrical Division, Kavaratti having the status of an independent Sub division, which was headed by an Assistant Executive Engineer. The Headquarters of Electricity Department was shifted to Kochi in February 1973 and was re-shifted to Kavaratti in May 1981 and since then the Department is functioning at Kavaratti. The Department is now functioning under an Executive Engineer at Kavaratti since June 1997.

Electricity Tariff:

Electricity Tariff adopted by the Department from time to time is furnished below:

                                                               1.10.96     1.10.97      01.05.1999 

                                                                      to              to                   to

                             1962-93    1993-96    31.9.97      30.4.99     31.03.2000


Domestic (0-50 unit)    60 Paise    75 Paise   75 Paise   100 paise       125 paise

             (0-200 Unit)    60  "          75   "         100  "         150   "           200   "

             (> 200 Units)   60  "          75   "         150  "         200   "           250   "

Commercial                   60   "         120  "         150  "         250   "           300   "

Industrial                       40   "          80   "         100  "         150   "           200   "

Public  Lighting           60   "         120  "         150  "         250   "           300   "


The Tariff has been revised with effect from 1.04.2000 as given below:


Domestic (0-50 units)                        - 150 paise per unit

                (0-100 Unit)                      - 250 paise per unit 

               (0- 200 Units)                    - 350 paise per unit

              ( 200 and above)                 - 400 paise per unit

Commercial                                      - 650 paise per unit

Industrial                                           - 450 paise per unit

Street lighting                         - 650 paise per unit

  The revenue of Rs. 5.6 Crores earned in 2000-01 represents only 49.53% (Appx.) of the expenditure.


  Computerisation of the Department: L.T. billing has  been computerised since 1992. Consumer himself  read the meter and pay the charges monthly. Pay Bills and  Store Accounting has also been computerised. With the financial assistance of Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources, the Department has installed a V – SAT at Headquarter for quick communication with Ministry and other places. It is proposed to install Vedio Conferencing System in the Department for which financial  assistance is assured by the Ministry.

  Ninth Five-Year Plan:            The 9th Five-Year Plan (1997-2002) has been formulated on the basis of the load projections made by 15th Power Survey. 16th Power Survey of the Ministry has also confirmed the projections made by the department up to 2005.   An amount of Rs. 1500.65 lakhs has been ear-marked for the 9th Five Year Plan for the Power Sector under plan.  The major thrust given in the 9th plan is to augment the DG capacity to meet the additional requirements of load and qualitative improvement of power supply.  The major objectives of the 9th Five-Year Plan ar

1.            Reduction of T & D losses to the level of 8 %.

2.            Addition of 10,000 KVA step up  transformation capacity and 10,167 KVA step down transformation capacity.

3.            Enhancement of efficiency and productivity by way of computerisation of the activities of the Department. 

4.            Construction of 18 Km high tension 11 KV UG lines and conversion of existing over head lines into under ground.

5.            Providing safety measures to contain environmental pollution/ de-gradation such as providing de-carbonising scrubbers to DG sets, acoustic control system to power control rooms, construction of cement platform to store HSD oil barrels, constructions of compound wall etc.

6.            Providing of service connection to following different category:-

a)                  Domestic / Commercial             2,100 Nos.

b)                  Industrial                                  298 Nos.

c)                  Street Light                               750 Nos.

7.            Supplement diesel generation with solar and wind generations by installing SPV Power plants and wind electric generators.

8.            Skill upgradation of man power i.e. human resource development by imparting short term training to the technical staff of the Department. 

9.            Strengthening of administrative set up by upgrading the existing posts, creation of new posts etc. to meet the additional requirement envisaged in the 9th plan. 

  The following recommendations made by the NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) as per the study financed by the Department are also being undertaken by the Department.

1.            Installation of  wet scrubbers to reduce air pollution .

2.            Installation of acoustic control of each individual generator or whole building using acoustic plaster and acoustic impedance material  to reduce noise pollution.

3.            Construction of  a compound wall around the Power House at a height of 3 mtr. to act as barrier to contain noise pollution.

4.       Concretisation of spillage area for HSD oil.


  An amount of Rs. 272.60 lakhs has been earmarked for 2001-02 for undertaking the following major work.


1.            Procurement and installation of 4 Nos. new Diesel Generating sets one each at Kiltan, Chetlat, Bitra and Bangaram

2.            Procurement and installation of 11 Nos. step down transformers

3.            Providing 420 Nos domestic and 38 Nos. industrial connections

4.            Installation of 155 new street lights

5.      Construction/ modification  of  existing  power  house  buildings  and office/ store buildings

   Under Non Conventional Energy Sector the following works are to be undertaken during 2001-02 for which an amount of Rs.399.00 Lakhs are provided. 

1.                  Installation and commissioning 7 Nos 100 KWp Grid Interactive SPV Power Plant and augmentation of existing SPV Power Plant at Bangaram and Bitra to 50 KWp.

2.                  Distribution of Energy Saving Devices such as Solar Lantern.

3.                  Setting up of  Wind Electric Generators

4.                  Energy Conservation measures

5.                  Installation of Biomass gasifiers

               SKILL UP-GRADATION: -

  The Department has already deputed almost all the staff of the distribution side to a  training course of 3 weeks to the National Power Training Institute, Neyveli during the year 1998-99 & 1999-2000.  The Department has also deputed one batch of Mechanics to the premises of Engine Manufacturers to a training course on DG sets.  Training on Solar Photo Voltaic Power system also conducted at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited premises.



  Taking into consideration the high generation cost of electricity and the impact on environment the Department has given utmost importance to Energy Conservation. Besides introduction of Compact Fluorescent Lamps, the usage of GLS Lamps in Govt. Sector has been banned. The following activities are being implemented with the assistance and cooperation of Energy Management Centre, Govt. of Kerala, Trivandrum.  

1.            Awareness programmes for reducing consumption of electrical energy .


2.            Installation of microprocessor controller device to save energy by automatic judicious switch on and off of Street Lights.

3.            Installation of Intelligent control unit for window type unit air conditioners

4.      Use of solar energy for neat and clean processing of fish and copra.


5.      Introduction of Energy Clinic Programme  of  the Energy  Management Centre Kerala  in the households of the islands.

6.    Formation of School Energy Conservation Clubs in schools of all islands.

7.  Distribution of Illustrated pamphlets on energy conservation in Malayalam among locals and the employees of the Administration

8.           Imparting training on energy management for  Assistant  Engineers  and    

         Junior Engineers in the Department

9.           Setting up of energy parks in the islands

Waste Heat Recovery Fresh Water plant for generating fresh water from seawater.


         One Waste Heat Recovery Fresh Water Generator of 10,000 litres installed at Kavaratti Power House is mainly to achieve optimum usage of HSD oil and to solve drinking water problem to some extent in the island. The plant converts sea water in to potable water. There is a proposal to use the exhaust gas of the engines to desalinate the seawater also.




I.        Transportation and storage of HSD oil:    About 66 lakhs litres of HSD oil is required annually for providing uninterrupted power supply in the islands.  It is being transported from Beypore in 200 litre Barrels in Barges.  HSD oil before it reaches in the PowerHouse in the islands, has to surmount the following handling procedure:


1)      Filling in 200 Ltrs.  Barrels from IOC Trucks and stacking filled barrels in open yard at Mainland.

2)      Loading of barrels into lorries and transporting them to wharf.

3)     Loading in the Country Craft at Wharf and transporting them to main vessel.

4)      Lifting from country craft and loading into the main vessels and transporting them to islands.

5)    Unloading from main vessel at Island on to the dumb barge in the outer sea.

6)       Unloading from the dumb barge at sea shore

7)   Transportation  from  seashore  to concerned open yard in the islands and stacking there.

8)    Transportation of barrels from open yard to Power House


Due to the above multi point handling and hazardous nature of transportation, the barrels some time reach the islands in leaking condition. As there is no storage facility available in the islands it has to be stored in the barrels itself.


Modernisation of Power System: -  In the present system all the Diesel Generating sets in the Power House are connected to a common bus without any bus isolation facility and synchronized and from there stepped up using step up transformers and is being fed to the grid through hand operated gang switches. The system requires modification for more reliability, dependability, viability and efficiency in operation. Hon’ble Minister of State for Power who visited Kavaratti on 11th & 12th April, 2001 has suggested to formulate a project report for upgradation, strengthening, renovation and modernisation of DG sets and distribution system in all the islands for funding from the Accelerated Power Development Fund of Ministry. The Department is collecting the details from the Ministry for formulating the Project Report. However, it is proposed to incorporate the following in the proposed draft Tenth Five Year Plan to take up under Power Sector:


1)            All generators may be synchronized to a common bus with bus isolation facility and all may be connected using relays and with facilities for monitoring the loading.

2)            A remote control console may be provided in a separate control room with control desk and mimic screen from where the characteristics and parameters of all generators and out going feeders can be monitored and controlled. Each generator can be switched on only according to the load requirement and can be utilised for maximum capacity because of which there would be considerable reduction in fuel and maintenance cost.

3)            VCBs should control the outgoing individual loads with TOD meters and protective relays so that faulty feeders will be switched off automatically and other feeders remain intact and healthy. By adding the new control console, computer interfacing can be provided with which monitoring can be done very effectively and dependency on manpower can be reduced.

4).     Sound proofing system with which sound pollution can be eliminated outside the generator room may be incorporated.

5)            A scientific method may be evolved for the storage and handling of HSD and lubricating oil in the system. For carrying out the above work properly for optimum utility detailed system study to be conducted and detailed engineering drawing along with schedule have to be prepared. A suitable agency for the above said modernisation work is to be located/ identified.

 6)      No additional D.G. Set is proposed

7)      Entire requirement of power is proposed to be met from Non Conventional Source of Energy by installing SPV Power Plants, Wind Electric Generators, Biomass gasifiers, Fuel Cells, Ocean Energy etc. 

8)    Setting up a Renewable Energy Park at Kavaratti.

9)      Replacement of existing mechanical conventional type energy meters with electronic energy meters .