Punjab electricity regulator PSERC has directed the Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) to inform consumers in advance about any load shedding.
Disposing of a petition, the regulator has authorised the power utility to impose power cuts, peak load hours restrictions and other regulatory measures to bridge the gap between demand and supply in case of exigencies and system requirements only for 2015-16.
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has given its approval for imposing power regulatory measures subject to a few conditions.
In the order, the commission said that consumers, including industry, would have to be informed about the scheduled power cuts at least one day in advance.
"PSPCL will send prior unambiguous and clear information to the consumers regarding scheduled power cuts, including written intimation wherever possible to trade and industry associations. The intimation to consumers and trade & industry associations should be sent at least one day in advance and the same should be available on website of PSPCL," it said.
The power utility could impose unscheduled power cuts only in case of emergency situations, the regulator said.
"Unscheduled power cuts, if required, may be imposed in emergent situations only. The detail of such unscheduled power cuts imposed along with duration and reasons should be put up on the website of PSPCL on the next date for information of all consumers," PSERC said in the order.
Besides, PSPCL will have to inform the regulator regarding "emergent situations and system constraints" occurring in the power system within minimum possible time, it said.
PSERC has also said that compulsory weekly off day will not be imposed on "essential services and industries" in view of surplus power available with PSPCL.
Essential services and industries include hospitals, railway stations, defence & military installations, fertilizer plants gas plants, sugar mills, vanspati mills, milk processing plants, breweries & distilleries, roller floor mills, drugs & pharmaceuticals units etc.
Despite claiming surplus power available during 2015-16, PSPCL had sought regulatory guidance for measures to be taken in case of exigencies leading to power cuts for the Tariff Year 2015-16.
In the petition, PSPCL has projected surplus availability of 15,261 million units throughout the year (2015-16), estimating total power availability of 66,937 MUs against requirement of 51,676 MUs.
PSPCL had claimed that unscheduled load shedding shall only be imposed during "sudden outage of generating units or exigencies in the grid".
Among power regulatory measures, PSPCL had proposed power cuts, impose weekly off day on large and medium industries, peak load restrictions on industry, regulate supply to AP (agricultural pumpsets) consumers.
Notably, power regulator received just two objections from public and stakeholders to the PSPCL's petition, seeking regulatory measures.