Evaluation of DRUM and WENEXA: Assessing the Impact of USAID/India's Distribution Reform, Upgrade and Management Program and its Water and Energy Nexus Program

Since the electrification of Bangalore (the first city in India to be electrified) in 1906, India’s power sector has experienced tremendous growth and change, but also has been faced with challenges. Today, 78 million rural households do not have electricity and nearly 40 percent of Indians still rely on kerosene lamps for light. Yet India is on the move with more than 10.4 percent growth last year. As India quickly moves into the ranks of “developed countries” an electric power sector that is efficient and effective is imperative if the country is to sustain its upward trajectory. However, many utilities are unreliable suppliers and financially unsustainable. A modern and financially viable competitive electric power industry is essential to attract foreign direct investment.

Against this background, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Distribution Reform, Upgrade and Management (DRUM) program in 2004. The program sought to:

  • Establish the framework, institutional capacity, and project development functions at the central and state levels; and
  • Enable implementation of several full-scale, commercially replicable distribution initiatives in key reform states in India.