Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Get set for power cuts

Get set for power cuts
The Times of India

BANGALORE: A bad monsoon that has laid to waste 128 taluks in the state has also turned the power situation precarious: Karnataka is all set to face a summer full of load-shedding.

Neither urban nor rural areas are going to be spared. Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy made it clear recently that there is no way of avoiding load-shedding, while deputy CM B S Yediyurappa said rural areas will at the most get 15 hours of supply, with nine hours of shutdown.

The situation is so shaky that unscheduled power cuts are being resorted to even in the power sector's cash cow — Bangalore city. Other than maintenance cuts, citizens have been facing random half-an-hour to hour-long shutdowns. But power officials say these are not the actual "power cuts".

The norm itself is a shortage of about 1,400 mw in the peak hour statewide, that translates to over six hours of shutdown in rural areas. But with the rain gods playing hide-and-seek from October, the demand for power to irrigate standing crops — particularly sugarcane — is very high. The six-hour shutdown will increase to nine hours, officials said.

The daily demand has touched an unheard of 130 million units per day, while Karnataka's generation capability is barely half — around 60 to 65 million units — including hydel, thermal and non-conventional energy sources.

The other half of the state's requirement has to come from central generating units and some from independent power producers in the state, though this may prove to be a costly option.


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