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Power cuts surface in Pb as demand soars with rise in mercury

chandigarh Updated: May 20, 2014 19:02 IST

Punjab State Power Corporation(PSPCL) has started imposing power cuts across all consumer categories due to gap between demand and supply, proving claims of having surplus electricity in the state to be wrong.

Causing inconvenience to energy consumers amid sweltering heat, the power unility has resorted to load shedding ranging from one hour to more than 4 hours per day in urban and rural areas.

Power cuts are in the range of one hour to four-and-a- half hours per day, official sources said.

The power utility is facing a gap of over 100 lakh units (LU) with demand reaching 1,300 LU per day, a PSPCL official said.

Yesterday, the demand for power stood at 1212 LU while availability was 1110 LU, he said.

With five units out of total 14 units of PSPCL's three thermal plants still not being operational because of coal supply issues, PSPCL is sourcing power from outside. PSPCL today bought 17 LU at a rate of Rs 4.45 unit as against 57 LU purchase at a rate of Rs 3.96 per unit yesterday.

Notably, demand for power would soar next month when paddy sowing starts from June 10. Power requirement during this time goes up considerably for drawing underground water by farmers.Farm sector is given a minimum of eight hours of power daily.

The state's power utility PSPCL in its petition filed with the power regulator for allowing load shedding had pointed out that power cuts would be imposed in case of "exigencies and system requirements".

Interestingly, in its schedule of anticipated demand and energy availability for 2014-15, PSPCL had projected surplus availability of 12,807 (million units) of power throughout the year with estimating total power availability of 61,462 (MUs) against requirement of 48,655 (MUs).

PSPCL even estimated surplus availability of energy during months of May (1405 MUs), June (305 MUs), July (94 MUs) and August (600 MUs) when summers are at peak and paddy sowing season is on.

PSPCL is facing problems in meeting gap between demand and supply because of less power generation at its own thermal power plants because of "coal shortage", delay in commissioning of private thermal power plants and reduced availability of power under banking arrangements.

Rajpura thermal power plant's second unit will come up in August now while Talwandi Sabo thermal plant's first unit is expected in June. However, there will be now power available from Goindwal Sahib power plant.

PSPCL has already sought power regulator approval for purchasing 5047 million units (MU) of short term power in order to bridge gap between demand and supply during May till September.