‘Conserve or perish; network too weak to bear extra load’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Conserve or perish; network too weak to bear extra load’

india Updated: May 10, 2011 02:00 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Energy expert Ashok Pendse, who is also a Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC)-approved consumer representative, said conserving power is the only way keep the city free of power cuts. He said that that though Mumbai’s consumers can afford expensive power, the city’s network does not have the capacity to carry more than 3,300 megawatts (MW). This is worrying, he said, because Mumbai’s demand has almost reached 3,000 MW and it could rise with the mercury.

Is Mumbai’s power situation better than the past?
I don’t think so. The city gets power at any cost because there cannot be power cuts in the metro, the country’s financial capital.

But power companies say costs will be less than last year’s.
It’s true, especially in the case of Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra). Last year, it had to buy power at Rs 11 per unit because the market was bullish. This year, however, more power is available at cheaper rates (Rs 4.50 per unit or so).
But then it doesn’t give immediate relief to its consumers, who are paying more for other regulatory charges and arrears.

How can consumers bring down monthly bills?
Conserve energy. Use energy-efficient appliances. Saving power is not only important monetarily but also for safeguarding the transmission and distribution network, which cannot carry more than 3,300 MW. We cannot get more power even if we have the money to buy it. Air-conditioners account for 1,000 MW of the city’s consumption, and we can save much on them.
Also, power companies need to strengthen their networks soon.

People find it difficult to conserve, preferring to pay more.
That should change. Simple things, such as shifting load away from peak hours, can make a difference. You can use appliances that need more power during non-peak hours.
Some appliances are no longer luxuries, but we can still control consumption.