Saturday, February 20, 2010

Power cuts put Bangalore on short fuse

Power cuts put Bangalore on short fuse

Senthalir S. Bangalore

Brace yourselves to live with power cuts. A severe power deficit has affected at least a quarter of the power supply in Bangalore. Now for the worst part: There are no solutions in sight.
Officially, the load-shedding in Bangalore is one hour per day but the bad situation has led to unannounced and unscheduled power cuts for up to a total of four hours every day throughout the city.
So what's causing it? "The power supply to the state has come down by 500mw. This has affected one-fourth of the supply to Bangalore," says Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) managing director Tushar Girinath.
The present demand in Karnataka is 148 million units (mu) and the supply has reduced to 125-128mu. "The availability for Bangalore is only 30-32mu. However, the demand has gone up rapidly. There have been power outages in the last one week," said an official.
Bangalore was just getting used to the one-hour power cut schedules. With the exams round the corner, it's going to be a big problem for students. "The power goes off during night and it is unscheduled. Sometimes there is no power for more than an hour during the night. Forget study, we can't even sleep properly," says Vinod MK, a student from Vijayanagar, one of the worst-hit places.
Bescom officials have a different take to the power story. They say load-shedding in Bangalore is for four hours a day, not one hour a day. Even the companies are complaining. Lohith R, an employee with a software solutions company on MG Road, said frequent power cuts interrupted their work schedule at least five times on Friday. "In the last three days, power cuts have been a headache for us," he said.
Industries are incurring losses almost every day due to unscheduled power cuts. "If there is one hour power cut, the amount of loss to Peenya Industrial Area is Rs1 crore. Now, there are unscheduled power cuts for at least four hours and more," says J Crasta, president of the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).
"Traders in Chickpet are facing 15% business loss due to power cuts. This is going to increase in the coming days. There is more than five to six hours of power cut everyday. If we face huge losses, we would not be able to pay tax to the government," says Sajjan Raj Mehta, former president of the Karnataka Hosiery and Garment Association.
But Karnataka Power Corporation (KPC) managing director SM Jaamdar says there is no problem. "The KPC supplies 80mu to the state and there has been no problem. We supply 70% of the power requirement to the state and the rest 30% comes from the central grid.

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