Darker days ahead for State

The rural areas are the worst hit: as much as 15 hours daily load-shedding.However, the Government has not chalked out any contingency plan in the event of no rainfall.
“We have no plans to purchase power as of now. We are hopeful that the rain gods will not let us down,” Energy Minister Eshwarappa said.

Ironically, when a large section of the State’s population is reeling under near-severe power cuts, the government on Tuesday went ahead with its plans seeking permission to hike power tariff by 51 paise per unit across all categories of consumers. An application to this effect was filed before the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission.

With the power situation becoming a matter of concern on Monday and Tuesday, the Government had no other choice but to meekly admit that it has resorted to unscheduled load-shedding that began a few days back. “We have taken recourse to unscheduled load-shedding, but unofficially. We did not announce the schedule for power cuts on the belief that it may rain and the situation would improve...We will announce the schedule in two or three days if it doesn’t rain,” Energy Minister K S Eshwarappa told reporters.

The water level at most hydel power-generating stations is so low that power can be generated for another week, while the coal stock will last for only a month. Taken together, the water level in three major hydro stations -- Sharavathy, Nagjhari and Varahi -- is just 873 ft. Last year, it was 1,333 ft.

This has predictably hit power generation, creating a huge gap between demand and supply. Three days back, power generation came down to 87 million units as against 106 mu on June 24. Alarmingly, power generation has dropped sharply at the hydro source  -- from 31 mu on June 24 to just 8 mu on June 28.

The total demand for power, according to Eshwarappa, is 98 mu per day. Accordingly, the State is power deficit by over 10 mu. But government sources said the actual demand is around 110 mu per day, as farmers have started using irrigation pump sets across the State. “Though Karnataka has the capacity to generate up to 105 mu, we cannot afford to generate to full capacity and exhaust all sources (water and coal). What we are trying to do is to stretch as much as possible by cutting down on both generation and supply to consumers (by resorting to unscheduled load shedding),” officials explained.

The data on power generation and supply accessed by Deccan Herald revealed that the power utilities started unscheduled load-shedding on June 20. It initially cut supplying 600 mega watts. The condition became severe from June 25 with between 1,500 and 2,000 mw of power cut. On June 28, as much as 1,200 mw of unscheduled and 1,200 mw of scheduled load-shedding were done across the State. The data for June 29 and 30 is yet to be compiled.

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