With the early onset of monsoon cutting short the summer, lengthy power cuts were the last thing Delhiites would have been worried about. But the season’s highest peak power demand of 3,832 MW on Thursday once again exposed the pathetic uncertainty of the Capital’s power management system.
With the demand soaring, Delhi fell short of around 360 MW. As usual, the Northern Grid came to the rescue, as Delhi drew almost 250 MW in excess of its scheduled quota.
Making matters worse was a shortfall in Delhi’s own generation. Due to technical faults, four generating units of Gas Turbine Power Station and three at Indraprastha Power Station remained non-functional. “The peak demand had breached the 3800-mark on Wednesday night when certain areas had to go without power,” said a Power department official. “There were around 17 instances of under-frequency relays causing cuts all over the city,” he said.
Predictably, South, West, East Outer Delhi areas were plagued with power cuts of varied lengths. Dwarka, Janakpuri, Vikarpuri, RK Puram, Safdarjung Development Area, Greenpark, IP Extension, Surajmal Vihar, Rohini were some of the areas that faced cuts of lengths varying between 15 minutes and two hours in the afternoon.
“With the heat gone, we had thought power cuts will not happen for a long time now. Turns out nothing really is good enough to spare us some relief,” said Darshan Ahluwalia, a resident of Vikaspuri, which faced outages for an hour on two counts.
“It may not have been very hot in terms of temperature, but thanks to the humidity, it was very muggy, so the power cuts were unbearable,” said Geeta Kishore, a resident of Green Park.
Officials said that humidity was one of the reasons why the demand shot up on Wednesday. “Thanks to the stickiness in the air, the air-conditioners were switched on again. We’re guessing this must have bee a cause,” the official said. The maximum temperature was recorded at 36.6 degrees Celsius.
Thursday’s crisis also exposed the false claims of the distcoms and the transmission utility that Delhi was ready to tackle a load of 4000 MW this summer, recalling last year’s record demand at 4030 MW.
“One of the major causes of the crisis was that 200 MW power from West Bengal’s Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) was not available due to flooding in the area. Although Naptha Jakhri has resumed supply a long gap, the shortfall could not be avoided,” the official said.