Thursday, May 13, 2010

Powerless city needs a quickfix

Powerless city needs a quickfix

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Bescom’s mismanagement has left the city powerless, sometimes for over six hours a day. With the main power generating station tripping regu- larly the woes of the citizens have only been compounded. If the authorities do not come up with a proper plan to tide over the crisis the city could be in for a long dark period, report Amit S. Upadhye and Ashwini Y.S. When the entire city is suffering due to unsched- uled power cuts why should government buildings be fully illuminated even at night? People are not likely to go to buildings like the Army pay accounts office at that hour. Our power authorities have displayed a severe lack of planning even in times of crisis. While streetlights are on even during the day in some areas, others are left in total darkness even at night with most lights not working. It will take two years to overhaul the thermal power stations and as we can’t keep the state in dark for so long, we have to make the best of the situation.

Should Bengaluru be reeling under power cuts when it gobbles up quite a bit of the power generated in the state both on the domestic and industrial fronts? Ask energy experts and they say a firm no, shaking their heads in despair at Bescom’s poor power management, which leaves some areas of the city in darkness longer than they need to be, while others are let off easier.
The city, which requires about 34 million units of power a day, is currently having to make do with 30 MUs. But as it is still better off than many other parts of the state which don’t get as much power supply, experts feel Bescom is to blame for the frequent load-shedding people have to put up with.

According to them, the

agency has failed to manage the available power in Bengaluru effectively enough to make sure that people get the supply they need with minimum interruption, pointing out that streetlights remain on in broad daylight in some areas, while others have no street illumina tion even at night.
"Although Bescom has come up with several programmes to save power they will not help solve the crisis unless it cuts down on wastage," the experts say, observing that quite a bit of power is lost in transmission to the city from the power stations.
“Every day the power situation is explained to each power supplying agency in the state and the supply is utilised accordingly. With power availability fluctuating every day in the state, how it is managed matters a great deal,” they say.

The situation has only got worse with Bengaluru upping its consumption by 20 per cent over the last three days.

“With the weather hav

ing got hotter of late people are switching on their fans and air conditioners much more than they usually do, which has increased the consumption, particularly during the peak hours in the mornings and evenings," says a Bescom officer. While consumption is highest in the domestic sector during the morning peak hour, the commercial sector utilises most of the evening peak load.
Bescom officials say the government will have to buy power from other states or private players to meet the increased demand for the duration of the summer.

"We are hoping that once the monsoon sets in the power situation will improve as the state depends more on hydel power than thermal," an officer explains. Power trade KPTCL bought 185.51 million units in February from JSW, Reliance, Power Trading Corporation (PTC) and Indian Energy Exchange for Rs 83.96 crore. In March it bought 507.56 MU from JSW, PTC and NTPC for Rs 240.91 crore KPTCL has entered into agreements to buy 475 MW a day from Jindal, 200 MW a day from Co-gen and 80 MW a day from the biomass sectors during April, May and June. 34 million units of power a day for city 30 MUs being provided 20 per cent is the increase in Bengaluru's power consumption in the last three days


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