J&K faces highest electricity deficit

Vast hydropower resources fail to meet increasing power demand

Despite having vast hydropower resources, Jammu and Kashmir is facing the highest power deficit among all northern and central states of the country.

A comparative study on power situation in the northern and central states by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a representative organisation of business and mercantile community of northern and central India, reveals that J&K is struggling with power deficit of above 25 per cent.

State is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 20.2 per cent and Madhya Pradesh with 15 per cent in terms of power deficit.

The study shows that New Delhi has a minimum power shortage of 0.3 per cent followed by Rajasthan (0.9 per cent), Chhattisgarh (1.75 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (3.4 per cent), Haryana (5.6 per cent), Punjab and Uttarakhand (6 per cent each).

However, the study has found that the per capita consumption of energy in Jammu and
Kashmir was slightly higher than the average national consumption at around 952 kilowatt/hour (kWh).

A senior engineer of the J&K State Power Development Corporation (SPDC) told Deccan Herald that the power deficit in the state must be even higher than 25 per cent.

“If we count the local power generation and imports from the northern grid, the deficit must be beyond 25 per cent. Energy shortage is an indication of insufficient power generation capacity and inadequate transmission and distribution networks,” the senior engineer said.

He said there was a dire need for reforms in the energy sector to make it efficient.
With hydropower generation at its peak is around 760 MW, the power demand in J&K has gone up to 2,300 MW. The shortfall is partially met through importing electricity from the northern grid for which the government had to cough up over Rs 2,000 crore last year.

Though of late the Omar Abdullah government has taken some initiatives to harness the huge hydropower potential of the state, it is still facing criticism for its failure to enhance hydropower generation despite having a potential of producing nearly 20,000 MW of electricity.

The state government plans to add about 6,000 MW of hydropower in the next 10 years for which some work has already been started.

However, experts say the industrial investment proposals attracted by J&K were marginal in comparison to other states, including some newly carved out states in the country.
The Naxalite-hit Chhattisgarh has become the most attractive destination for industrial investments backed by a robust power scenario marked by marginal power deficit.

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