Scant rainfall in Chamba and its adjoining areas, which come under the catchment area of the Ravi, has brought down the water level in the Ranjit Sagar dam (RSD), affecting power generation.
Two of the four power generating units were closed to maintain a certain water level in the lake on Monday.
The water level in the lake was 501.9 metre on Monday as compared to 509 metre on same day last year. The lake can take water up to 520 metre after which spillways are opened to release excess water.
The RSD has four water tunnels to rotate turbines to generate power. Though each unit can generate up to 150 MW of power, the project can work to its optimum capacity only when sufficient water is available in the reservoir.
Worried over the lack of adequate rain, executive engineer SK Mittal said RSD is totally dependent on monsoon as water coming from Chamba and its adjoining areas fills up the reservoir, which ensures normal supply of water to rotate turbines. He said as of now, the lake is not filling up at the desired pace and "we are restricted to keep one or two units functioning". "Many a time, it had been observed that monsoon gets delayed and we hope a positive response from rain gods this time," he added.
Mittal, who is known for his unique technique of saving costs by starting and shutting down turbines as per the power availability, claimed that they shut the units when power supply from other sources, like thermal projects, becomes cheaper during lean hours and sell power when these project supply costly power in case of heavy demand.
"We prefer to conserve our water resources when thermal projects are selling power at Re 1 per unit. But we produce and sell power when they are offering it for Rs 12 a unit. We are hoping a favourable monsoon, which would enable us generate power to full capacity," he added.