The entire northeastern region has been plagued by a serious power crisis for the past one month following a prolonged dry spell and lowering of the water level in rivers and water reservoirs, officials said on Friday.
"Though the southwest monsoon came into northeast India during the end of last month, the rainfall scenario in most of the states is even worse," Tripura power corporation chairman-cum-managing director Dipak Ganguly told reporters in Agartala.
"The demand and power supply gap ranges between 60 per cent to 80 per cent in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura," said Ganguly, also a renowned electrical engineer of India.
State-owned North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) have been operating most of the major power projects (both hydel and thermal power plants) in northeast India.
"Due to the shortage of waters, the generation capacity of the Khandong and Kopili hydro electric power projects in Assam, Ranganadi hydro power project in Arunachal Pradesh, Doyang hydro power plant in Nagaland, Loktak hydro power project of Manipur and Dambur hydro power project in Tripura has been reduced by 50 per cent," Ganguly said.
According to power engineers, in view of the soaring temperatures coupled with high humidity, electricity demand has risen by 25-30 per cent.
NEEPCO Executive Director TC Borgohain also admitted that there is severe power crisis in the entire northeast India.
"Our engineers and employees are working hard to deal with the situation and to maximise production from our (NEEPCO's) thermal power plants," Borgohain told IANS.
The power situation in Assam is, however, even worse. Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) chairman AK Sachan said in Guwahati, "The power crisis was due to the present dry spell. While the demand for power in the state is over 800 MW, there has been a daily shortfall of over 135 MW during the peak hours and 50 MW during the off-peak hours."
The situation is same in Meghalaya where the demand is about 250 MW while shortfall is more than 75 MW as there has been rapid industrialisation in the Byrnihat area of the state.
Though there was some rain during the past few days, but it was not enough for the hydel power plants to generate power at full capacity, said the power boards and corporation functionaries.
However, the meteorological officials have forecast rain over the region during the next few days.