Monday, August 16, 2010

Powerless Bangalore looks for light

Powerless Bangalore looks for light

Experts suggest rationalisation of power usage in Karnataka to avoid the current mess and fix outages

Bosky Khanna Bangalore

Breakdown in Raichur thermal plant, technical snags at Bellary thermal plant, inadequate storage in hydro-electric power reservoirs, bad rains. In short, Bangalore is powerless.
While the state government is struggling for solutions, experts in the power sector have prescribed solutions that can bail the state out from its own mess in the energy sector.
Prompt and periodic overhaul of machinery in thermal plants, purchasing good quality high calorific coal, strict vigil against negligence of the staff in thermal units, desilting of reservoirs of hydel power stations, differential power tariff system, and reducing transmission and distribution losses – these are the suggestions pouring in from experts.
RS Hiremath, managing director, Flexitron, said desilting of the hydel power stations has to be looked at as it would increase the storage capacity. The government and the department look at hydel dams as disposal dumps. There is a lopsided approach towards the cleanest form of energy. The efficiency of the thermal power plants should be raised, he said.
"We are procuring low calorific, dirty coal, and water is needed to wash the coal before sending it to the unit. Thus the coal is wet. Wet coal jams machinery in thermal plants, causing damage to equipment and stoppage of power production. There is gross human negligence in generation and upkeep of the units which has been neglected over the years," he said.
He said: "As in Japan, here too, there is need to rationalise power usage by making people pay different tariff on hourly basis depending on peak hours and non-peak hours. Bescom needs to start the process of differential metering; the technology is there but it needs to be implemented," said Hiremath. Energy committee chairman MG Prabhakar said the state government should ask companies to use their captive generation units during peak hours. "The government should compensate the companies appropriately for doing so. He says there is no quick-fix solution to the problem. The government should have anticipated the problem and be prepared with a contingency plan," he said.
Kishore Alva, chairman, energy experts' committee of Bangalore Chamber of Industries and Commerce (BCIC), said the need for reducing transmission and distribution losses through better management of available power. Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has convened a meeting of energy department officials on Monday to finalise the decision on purchasing 500MW of power from private producers to tide over the crisis.

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