Arunachal Pradesh, often described as the future powerhouse of the country with an estimated 58,000MW hydro power generation potential, has been facing an acute power crisis for the past two and a half months.
With the sources of rivers rapidly drying up directly impacting generation in the entire Northeast, Arunachal Pradesh is also suffering from a supply shortfall.
The situation has been compounded by a large number of fires being reported in the state this year, forcing consumers, particularly students, to reach for conventional energy sources like kerosene and candles.
The hilly state receives between 84MW to 34MW during peak and non-peak hours respectively against a peak hour demand of 130MW.
The supply schedule goes haywire with a fluctuating supply from the NE Grid. It varies from 44MW to 84MW during peak hours and between 34 and 44MW during non-peak hours, that too including the state's share of 22 to 24MW, according to State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) executive engineer T Mize.
Though a few mini and micro hydro power projects are generating power to meet the local needs, statistics are not available to SLDC contrary to the grid distribution mandate, Mize said.
The demand for power has been on an upswing with a number of massive development projects being executed in the state. Small and medium industries are also being set up in large numbers.
Criss-crossed by numerous perennial rivers, the state houses the largest hydro project in the Northeast – 405MW Ranganadi Hydro electric project (three units of 105MW each) of the North East Electrical Power Corporation at Papum Pare district.
"Two units are functioning mostly as per the schedule given by the NE LDC according to power requirements of the state and availability of water," head of Rangnadi project Samarjit Chakravarty said, adding "as of now we are producing 230MW."
Mostly two units are run during winter as well as the water level goes down, he says.
With the global warming causing an environmental crisis across the world, particularly due to shrinking forest cover triggered by spread of human habitations and development projects which in turn disturbs the ecosystem, its impact on water flow of the rivers is obvious, according to environment experts.
The construction of one of the largest hydro projects in India - the 2000MW Lower Subansiri hydro electric project at Gerukamukh - has met with anti-dam protests in neighbouring Assam led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, though 75% work is complete.
India had an installed capacity of 211.766GW as of January this year, the world’s fifth largest.
In a May, 2011 report, the Central Electricity Authority had estimated a base load energy deficit and peaking shortage for 2011 and 12 to be 10.3% and 12.9% respectively.
The peaking shortage would prevail in all regions of the country, varying from 5.9% in the NE to 14.5% in the southern region.