Friday, June 26, 2009

Sweat & bear it: power cuts back

Sweat & bear it: power cuts back

Bangalore: Faced with shortfalls in reservoir inflows, Karnataka has quietly imposed unscheduled power cuts — ranging from two to five hours — throughout the state.
“Karnataka is facing a power shortage because of the weakening monsoon resulting in depletion of hydel resources, besides technical snags occurring due to overload in some thermal power stations. So we are forced to go for unscheduled power cuts,’’ Bescom officials said.
Interestingly, energy minister K S Eshwarappa has a different take. Denying that the supply companies have resorted to power cuts, he said: “The prevailing power cuts are solely due to technical reasons at various thermal power stations. Things will return to normal in a day or two’’.
Bangalore, which had so far been spared load-shedding, will now face a two-hour cut that will be staggered during the peak hours.
The citizen is already fuming. “For the past three days, we have been experiencing power cuts one hour each in the morning and evening,’’ a resident of HSR Layout said.
The load-shedding is worse in smaller cities like Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli where, in addition to the unscheduled power cuts, there are scheduled cuts of five to six hours. The situation in villages is worse, with power supply being not more than 6-7 hours in a day.
Explaining the present crisis, a senior official said availability to Karnataka is only about 80 million units (MU) per day against the peak demand of 105-115 MU, leaving a gap of close to 20 MU. Another reason for the unscheduled cuts is the abrupt withdrawal of power supply by private companies from whom the government had been buying power to mitigate the crisis.
While this is only a temporary problem, what is worrying the state government is the lack of sufficient rainfall in the catchment areas of the reservoirs and the growing load on the thermal power plants.


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