Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dark days ahead for Bangalore

Dark days ahead for Bangalore
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Load-shedding is back to haunt Bangalore and surrounding areas...

According to official sources, while the present demand in the State is for 115 mu, only 100 mu is available. This 15 per cent shortage has forced KPTCL to resort to load shedding, they said.

“The demand has shot up due to heavy consumption by farm irrigation pump sets. Many parts of the State are affected by drought, leading to dependence on IP sets for farming. This situation may continue till mid September (the peak agriculture season),” officials pointed out. Sources said although no specific time has been fixed for load shedding in Bangalore, Bescom officials have been directed to avoid morning and evening hours so as to not inconvenience consumers. The cabinet sub-committee set up last month to monitor the power situation, had taken a decision to conduct load shedding for 2 hours in Bangalore and 13 hours in rural areas if demand goes beyond 100 mu.

Furthermore, regional power utilities are facing distribution constraints, as infrastructure to supply power has not been upgraded. Many existing stations are unable to handle heavy loads, officials explained.

While citizens have been experiencing unscheduled blackouts during the past two days, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) has claimed that there has been no load shedding. When contacted, KPTCL Managing Director K Jairaj admitted that the demand for power has gone up but said KPTCL was in a position to meet it. “There are speculations in a section of media that we have imposed load shedding. But it is not so. Sometimes power supply trips due to increased demand. That might have happened in the last two days,” he explained.

The MD said that the Bellary thermal plant producing 300 MW and the 7 units of Raichur thermal plant are working to full capacity. From Chhattisgarh, 100 MW will be purchased from September 1. One unit of power costs Rs 7.70, he added.

He pointed out that compared to last year, this year the demand for power has gone up by 17 to 18 per cent. But while the State is entitled for 30 MU, the present supply from the Centre is just 20 to 22 MU, he said.

Sources in the Secretariat said the State Cabinet, scheduled to meet on Wednesday, is likely to discuss the implemention of free power to 15 lakh IP sets below 10 HP.

Though KPTCL is supplying free power to these sets, there is no notification specifying who should be the beneficiaries. The government may exclude income tax and professional tax paying farmers from the scheme.
The financial burden on the government for supplying free power to the IP sets is around Rs 3,000 crore, sources said.


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