Peak power usage in State puzzles energy experts

Peak power usage in State puzzles energy experts

Karnataka saw a peak load of power usage on January 23 and 24, 2014, of 9,008 megawatt (MW) and 9,055 MW, respectively. This all-time high was at 8.45 am and 8.18 am on the respective days. 

This has baffled Bescom, KPTCL and power experts as to what could have led to this sudden peak. The normal average supply by KPTCL hovers around 7,000-8,800 MW, and of Bescom is around 3,900-4,250 MW.

The maximum peak load by Bescom on January 24 was 4,201 MW at 9.01 am in Bangalore City, and 2,241 MW at 8 am in Bangalore Metropolitan Area Zone (BMZA).

Bescom Managing Director Pankajkumar Pandey said the normal consumption pattern cannot be predicted because the demand and supply increase during morning and evening hours. More power is needed in the morning for water heaters and household chores and in the evening for lighting. 

Rise in summer

“Normally, KPTCL’s maximum peak has been noticed to be around 8,700 MW. The peak usage usually rises during summer, but this is an unusual case and even we are surprised.” Further, the weather was also not very hot or cold on the two days, which could have triggered the demand for air conditioners or heaters.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the maximum and minimum temperatures on January 23 were 27.2 and 15 degrees Celsius, while on January 24 were 28.8 and 17.1 degrees Celsius. Further, on January 10, the maximum and minimum were 28 and 17.1 degrees Celsius, respectively. The normal maximum and minimum being 29 and 15 degrees Celsius.

A KPTCL engineer pointed that this year the agricultural load had increased. Also, every year, the demand has been increasing by 5-6 per cent, because of increasing new connections. 

So, it is very difficult to pinpoint and say exactly what could have triggered the cause and where. Power experts point out that this is a warning call for KPTCL and Bescom to pull up their socks and get ready for the summer demand.

No demand

According to FKCCI legal advisor for Energy Related Legal Matters and member M G Prabhakar, there is no apparent reason for the increase in demand. There has been no sudden demand from the industrial sector during morning hours, nor has there been any sudden demand in the domestic sector. Normally, the demand in the residential areas is more in the mornings from 5 am to 11.30 am. But these timings are very strange.

He said that this was an indication for all to start preparing for summer. They should gradually start load-shedding and maintenance work of all their units so that in summer there is no problem. They should now reassess their resources, especially hydel, and see how much they can produce. They should also now assess their purchasing capacity, how much each Escom can be supplied and know what quantum of power cuts can be done.

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