Power shock awaits

The State will have to grapple with power shortage this summer, in addition to tackling water crisis. 

The prognosis is no good and power outages could be the order of the day.

The present energy demand of 170 million units a day is expected to soar up to 185 mu this summer. The government is scrambling to make up for the deficit by tapping all the available sources, both inside and outside the State. Section 11 of the Electricity Act has been invoked for additional purchases between February 1 and May 31 at a cost of Rs 5.30 a unit. Around 400 MW of power is being procured from sources in the State including co-generation units, JSW and other captive power plants.

The Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) is however confident that there will be no power cuts this summer. Ravi Kumar, KPTCL Managing Director, told Deccan Herald that arrangements were being made to bridge the demand-supply gap and there would be no need for load shedding.

“We don’t foresee power outages. We have made enough preparations to deal with the peak demand. It is examination time, and we intend to supply quality power. There will be no power cuts during the nights. We may effect load management, but we don’t propose load shedding. We have taken up the exercise of requesting the high energy consumers to restrict their consumption,” Kumar said.

But this does not mean that there will be 24/7 power supply. Call any escom official and you won’t get an unambiguous reply on the duration of power supply to villages or areas other than Bangalore. Ravi Kumar said there will be power outages after 10 am, but only to maintain the load.

Kumar said that about 780 MW of power was being supplied to Karnataka round the clock from JSW, NETS Chattisgarh and BMM Ispat. This apart, the State has been getting 210 MW from JSW and small generators. Both are the outcome of long-term arrangements by the Power Corporation of Karnataka Limited

“The 400 MW that we are getting after invoking Section 11 has put us in a reasonably comfortable position. This may even go up. Also the Sharavathi generating station which was under repair will resume generation from February 27. This will help us, especially during peak load. Further, the evacuation line for the second unit of Bellary Thermal Power Station (500 MW) is ready, and the generation will begin, once coal is supplied.

This will be  an added bonus,” he said, adding that the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd too was generating to its full capacity of 600 MW.

The officer said that the only two glitches were that the Centre had not approved Karnataka’s demand of 500 MW from the unallocated share, and the non-availability of a corridor for the evacuation of 430 MW being purchased from Himachal Pradesh.

Bescom measures

The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has also initiated measures to tackle the crisis. It has launched a drive to inspect 4.5 lakh commercial electrical installations in Bangalore to check their consumption. Notices have been served on the establishments which were found to have been drawing power over and above the sanctioned capacity.

Industries have been requested to meet their energy demand from their captive generation units between 6 pm and 9 pm during summer months. Shopping malls have been asked to cut down on unnecessary lighting. If either of the measures fails to work out, Bescom will reduce the power consumption limit of industries by 10 per cent, sources said.

Power purchases

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