Task 15 – Case Study – Agricultural Pump Set Efficiency Improvement Program – India

Agricultural Pump Set Efficiency Improvement Program – India

This is the 3rd article in a series highlighting the case studies of DSM Task 15, Network Driven DSM. This Task demonstrated that DSM can be successfully used to support electricity networks in two main ways:

1) by relieving constraints on distribution and/ or transmission networks at lower costs than building ‘poles and wires’ solutions, and

2) by providing services for electricity network system operators, achieving peak load reductions with various response times for network operational support.


Water pumping load in the agricultural sector in India is important for the following reasons.  Agricultural pump sets are often supplied by long rural lines which are costly to build and maintain and have large line losses.  The electricity supply to pumps is often unmetered and electricity is effectively supplied free of charge.  In these cases, electricity distributors have to bear the supply cost and there is no incentive for agricultural customers to use electricity efficiently.

The Agricultural Pump Set Efficiency Improvement Program was developed by the Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL), facilitated by USAID and World Bank experts and implemented with participation by companies manufacturing energy efficient pumps and other equipment, and by
financial institutions.

NPCL is an electricity distribution/retailing utility privately owned by RPG Group since 1993.  NPCL provides services to the Greater Noida region of Uttar Pradesh.  It provides transmission and distribution services to about 335 square kilometers of Greater Noida city and 118 neighbouring villages, supplying around 23,000 customers in 2003/04, increasing to approximately 40,000 customers in 2007/08.

Total energy supplied by NPCL is distributed as follow: 12% for agricultural pump sets; 64% for large industry and 24% for residential, institutional and small industry consumers. 


The NPCL distribution system servicing the agricultural sector was characterised by high line losses, wastage of energy in running pump sets (7500 kWh per agricultural consumer per annum), low
revenue generation (selling price of INR0.46 per kWh against purchase cost of INR2.97) and high levels of theft and pilferage of electricity.

Consequently, the main objectives of the Agricultural Pump Set Efficiency Improvement Program were:

  • to achieve energy savings by improving the electrical performance of the pump motors through high efficiency;
  • to increase the power factor above the average of 0.65 for conventional agricultural pump sets;
  • to reduce line losses by converting low voltage supply to high voltage; and
  • to inculcate responsible behaviour by customers towards the use of electricity and water by deploying metering at pump sets.

Description of the Project

The program was designed to showcase the benefits available from improving agricultural pump set performance through retrofitting with high efficiency motors of an optimum size matched to the average load of the pump.

NPCL staff conducted a survey of existing pumping systems to identify opportunities to improve efficiency, particularly in relation to power factor and appropriate sizing of motors.

Existing conventional belt-driven motor shaft coupled pump sets of 7.4 horsepower capacity were replaced with new higher efficiency, lower capacity 3.0 horsepower mono block pump sets.
Additional capacitors to increase the power factor to 0.85 were also installed with a metering system for the pump station.  High voltage lines on the power distribution system in the area were extended, while insulated low voltage lines were installed at the grid connection point of the pumping systems.

A funding mechanism was offered to agricultural customers that provided free of cost pump sets and a mix of 70% debt and 30% equity in the purchase and installation of capacitors and metering.

NPCL provided the conceptual design, technical support and administration for the program.  NPCL staff carried out the evaluation of the potential for extending the high voltage distribution system.  Pump set suppliers verified the efficiency levels of existing pumping systems.

Outreach activity was undertaken jointly by NPCL and local community institutions to promote and encourage agricultural customers to participate in the program.  Customers were given access to
pump sets and also provided with information on usage and system parameters for evaluation.

Monitoring and evaluation was undertaken to monitor progress and to report on the impact of the program.  NPCL used an energy audit as one of the monitoring and evaluation tools.  Data output was taken from meters installed at local substations and hourly performance was recorded from pump station logbooks.

NPCL used in-house technical personnel to analyse operational reports from the field and relied on local community organisations for assistance and guidance.


Table 1 presents a summary of the results achieved for replacement of a conventional 7.4 horsepower pump set with a high efficiency 3.0 horsepower pump set.


Table 2 shows the total cost for replacement of a conventional 7.4 horsepower pump set with a high efficiency 3.0 horsepower pump set.


From the perspective of NPCL, the reduction in peak load and energy demand resulting from the implementation of this program:

  • reduced the cost of supplying electricity;
  • fostered customers relations; and
  • contributed environmental benefits to society.

 Download case study here

This article was contributed by David Crossley, Managing Director of Energy Futures Australia Pty. Ltd and Senior Advisor at The Regulatory Assistance Project.  For more information on this case study and others, visit Task 15, Network Driven DSM at:

Task 15 Network Driven DSM