Pray for a miracle to get non-stop power this summer

Centre agrees to give 319 MW, but demand-supply gap too wide

Pray for a miracle to get  non-stop power this summer

Supplying enough electricity this summer will be a tightrope walk for the State government as the rising mercury, lack of adequate transmission lines and breakdown of a major hydel source at Sharavathi Generating Station are set to widen the gap between demand and supply.

Not just that, the government may have to buy power at a higher price this year. As against the requirement of 10,000 MW, the availability is just 7,500 MW. The unexpected shutdown of Sharavathi following a fire accident earlier this month has worsened the situation with a shortage of 1,275 MW for this summer. To meet the shortage, the government has pressed all thermal power stations into optimal production levels besides pressing all available hydel sources.

Normally, the hydel power was generated to meet the peak demand during summer in case of a breakdown of thermal power stations. But this year, the State has put all hydel power stations to optimum levels to meet the shortage.

The hopes of getting at least 1,000 MW from the Centre also failed as Union Power Minister Piyush Goel on Wednesday told a delegation of Union ministers from Karnataka that the Centre would provide only 319 MW a day to meet the shortage till the end of March this year. “Unless there is a breakdown in Ballari and Udupi thermal stations, we should be able to manage up to June 30,” P Ravikumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Energy), told Deccan Herald.

But those in the know of things say that even a minute technical snag could spoil the State’s hope. Going by the history of the functioning of the thermal stations, only a miracle could ensure an uninterrupted optimum production levels for the next three months.

A breakdown of thermal stations would force the State to buy power at a premium. “Obviously when we go to market in the distress period, it would be expensive,” Ravikumar said. Last year the peak power purchase was Rs 5.08 per unit. “Anything above this will be expensive,” he noted.

Limited options
Ravikumar said that Karnataka had to buy power from southern states as there were no transmission lines to draw power from the north. It hopes that by April, the transmission lines will be ready. “If lines are ready, we should get an additional 400 MW to Bescom from Ballari. And if no other state uses the lines, we should get power from the northern grid too,” he said.
DH News Service

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