Dry spell may spell trouble on power front, says Shobha

Dry spell may spell trouble on power front, says Shobha

The State will be in the grip of a major power crisis if there are no rains by next month, Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje told the Council on Monday.

To a query by BJP MLC D S Veeraiah on giving free power to Below Poverty Line families, the minister said the proposal had to be shelved for now. “Water levels in Linganamakki, Mani and Supa reservoirs have hit an all-time low due to lack of rain. We have failed to get power from outside, owing to the absence of a corridor. If rain fails us next month, we will be in trouble,” she said.

In July last year, the water storage in Linganamakki was 80 tmc ft, while this time around it is 30 tmc ft. Moreover, demand for power has shot up by 24 per cent compared to last year.

When Congress MLC Veeranna Mattikatti asked the minister about giving power to irrigation pumpsets of farmers in Gadag, Dharwad and Haveri districts, she said delay in the commissioning of unit II of the Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) had caused power shortage.

“Due to shortage of coal, the unit, which was to begin generation on February 23, has been stalled. It will be commissioned in the first week of August,” she said. Two units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) being shut down for maintenance work had added to the crisis in North Karnataka, the minister said.

Usually, the upkeep of the RTPS units is taken up during monsoon. However, this year, the department is under pressure to run the machines and take up repairs and maintenance in a phased manner, she said.

Escoms making losses

Karandlaje, in a written reply, said escoms suffered a major setback, especially in 2008-09 as “the department purchased power at high costs, while the tariff was not revised.” Bescom incurred a loss of Rs 588.24 crore, Mescom – Rs 41.33 crore, Chescom – Rs 221 crore, Hescom – Rs 560 crore and Gescom – 198.16 crore.

Mescom incurred a loss of Rs 73.52 crore in 2009-10; Hescom suffered a loss of Rs 173.64 crore in 2009-10 and Rs 64.70 crore in 2010-11; Gescom suffered a loss of Rs 31.11 crore in 2009-10.

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