Where is the contingency plan?

Where is the contingency plan?

As Bengalureans reel under an unprecedented power crisis, citizens seek long-term solutions to prevent a repeat.

Where is the  contingency plan?

WhatsApp forwards, memes, Facebook posts and witty one-liners aside, the power crisis in the state has irked everyone; industries and domestic consumers alike.

While the angry public awaits the government's intervention, the situation is likely to be grim for some more time. Having mismanaged the crisis, the state government, meanwhile, is facing scathing criticism from all quarters.

What is the best way to handle the present crisis? What are the measures to be taken by the government to ensure that such a situation does not repeat in the future? One way to manage the present situation is to save bulk power by adopting rotational holiday for industries.

This can be done depending on how much load the government wants to save. “Most industries have seven days power. If there is a rotational holiday, industries would have advance notice to plan better and minimise losses,” said M R Sreenivasa Murthy, former chairman, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC).

Farmers and industries together account for more than 50 percent of the power consumption in the State. In the future, the government can also look at introducing a similar holiday for farmers. “Pumpsets have different feeders. Depending on the geographical location and the crop needs, power supply can be managed. Most crops can do without daily irrigation.

However, this should strictly be done only after ascertaining the crop situation and with consultation of the people concerned,” he emphasised. Minimising the inconvenience to maximum consumers should be the motto with which the government should operate, he added.

While these were short term measures, in the long run the government had to think of improving the operation of the thermal and hydel plants. Since 2010, plants have been facing repeated problems. While thermal plants earlier faced problem with coal availability, the situation has eased out now. “Operation problems cannot be allowed to hold the State to ransom. We need experts at the helm of affairs for these plants,” Murthy opined.

Undoubtedly, industries have been the worse hit in this crisis. The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI) presented a memorandum recently urging the government to straighten the situation at the earliest.

FKCCI's Energy Committee Chairman M G Prabhakar questioned why the government did not have a contingency plan. “There are no miracles. A contingency plan has to be ready. They cannot start digging the well when the house is on fire and take the consumer by surprise,” Chairman of Energy Committee, FKCCI, M G Prabhakar said.

While even the common public have to bear the brunt, the industries have more to lose in such a crisis. “Owing to frequent power cuts, economic activity will start moving at a snail's pace. What do we do with employees in the industry? What do we do with buyers? Take the instance of an industry such as Plastics which involves casting and melting. If the power goes off in between, the process gets stuck. Who will compensate for these losses?” wondered Prabhakar, representing the concerns of industries.

The electricity regulatory commission, KERC too had a role to play in ensuring that the government gave advance notice in case of load-shedding, he pointed out.

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