Bescom starts buying power to meet City's energy needs, this summer

Govt to hike electricity generation at hydel plants as Karnataka stares at crisis

Bescom starts buying power to meet City's energy needs, this summer

The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has started buying power from the Indian Energy Exchange Ltd to address Bengaluru’s vast energy needs this summer. 

The move comes as Karnataka stares at an imminent power crisis. Two units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station shut down on Wednesday for scarcity of water. The next day, fire broke out in the Sharavathi hydroelectric power plant in Shivamogga district, stoking fears of decline in power supply. 

On Friday, Bescom purchased 100 MW of power from the Indian Energy Exchange and will buy another 100 MW on Saturday. It has purchased 39.18 million units of power since April 1, 2015. Bescom Managing Director Pankaj Kumar Pandey told Deccan Herald that they were doing their best to avert a power crisis in the coming months. The power is being purchased at Rs 1.6 to Rs 3 per unit. 

Bengaluru’s power demand is 2,500 MW per day, which Bescom has been able to meet because of the purchases. The whole Bescom circle needs 4,500 MW, another Bescom official said. Bescom gets 1,700-1,900 MW from the central grid with the help of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL). More power will be purchased if the need arises, he added. 

Karnataka generates 3,000 MW of hydro power. Of this, Bescom’s share is 1,500 MW, but the fire at Sharavathi caused a loss of 1,000 MW, said an official in the Energy Department. 

Thus, power utilities will have to rely on thermal and wind power. The solar power generation is limited, according to the official. To make up for the shortage, the Energy Department is increasing power generation at Kadra and Kodasalli dams (both in Uttara Kannada district). 

According to the official, only five out of the seven units at the RTPS are functional at any given time. The real setback is the fire at Sharavathi. “This is a temporary situation and will be resolved within a month. By this time, the ongoing tests to generate 800 MW at Yermarus Thermal Power Station and 700 MW at Ballari Thermal Power Station will be completed,” he said. 

To meet the demand in summer, Bescom will need at least 500 MW from each of the thermal units. KPTCL Director (Transmission) Sumanth S said the situation was not as alarming as previously thought. 

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