Monday, December 28, 2009

Darkness envelops State

Darkness envelops State
Subhash Chandra N S and S Praveen Dhaneshkar, Bangalore:

Several places in Bangalore and parts of the State were plunged into darkness on Sunday as a unit at the Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) and two units at the Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) were shut down following technical disruptions.

Power utilities resorted to unscheduled load shedding, without prior warning. According to sources, load shedding was imposed by all power utilities (ESCOMs) as the State was reeling under severe shortage of about 1,000 MW of power.

“We have no option but to force the consumer into darkness. The sudden crisis has aggravated due to technical disruptions developing at the thermal power generating stations at Raichur and Bellary,” an official said. “While the two units at RTPS were taken up for annual maintenance, the plant at BTPS developed sudden problems. As a result, the State lost 970 MW of power,” added the official.

With the recent cyclone crippling power generation to a considerable degree, the intermittent power supply played hide-and-seek compounding the crisis that began early on Sunday.

When contacted, BESCOM officials also confirmed that several parts of southern, eastern, western and central Bangalore were plunged into darkness.

“While the demand for power in the State has surged to 123 million units (MU), the State Government has decided to cap power consumption at 118 MU to save power and conserve energy. This has further affected the consumer.

In view of Moharram on Monday, power utilities resorted to load shedding on Sunday,” a BESCOM official said.

This is the second time thermal power generating units have forced the State into darkness. For the record, all power units at RTPS were shut down due to systems failure a week ago, depriving the State of about 1000 MW of power.

However, an RTPS official said only one unit had been taken up for maintenance, contrary to the version of another official who said: “Power generation at BTPS has also stopped for the last few days.”

When contacted, Principal Secretary in the Energy Department K Jairaj admitted there was a trip in BTPS, and that it may take at least five to six days to restart operations. He added a unit of RTPS was under maintenance for the last one month.

BESCOM denies crisis

A top BESCOM official denied that a major power crisis had developed in the State, saying: “A few lines may have tripped due to falling branches or some unforeseen technical problems. The rains on Sunday are also to blame.”


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