As the entire state reels under an acute power crisis, a cash-strapped UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has stopped or minimised overdrawing overpriced electricity from the grid to avoid being bankrupt. The UPPCL is preferring to impose more power cuts in the state to cope up with the demand-supply gap to trying to actually bridge the same by overdrawing from the grid at the low frequency.
"We have to pay at the rate of Rs 18-20 per unit if we overdraw when the grid frequency is below 49 hertz. The new price is too exorbitant for us and we just cannot afford it," said a senior UPPCL official, adding, "We will become bankrupt if we continue to purchase power at this rate so we have no option but put consumers to put to a bit more inconvenience by resorting to greater amount of load-shedding."
On Wednesday, the demand for power was more than 9,000 mw against the total availability of 7,000 mw. With the gap as big as 2,000 mw even in the daytime, the UPPCL control room resorted heavy power cuts throughout the state, though the worst affected were villages where there was hardly supplied any electricity. Even big cities like Kanpur were given only 12-13 hours of supply that too in installments. "This situation has been continuing for last one week," said an official.
The UPPCL normally over-drew power to the extent of 1,000-1200 mw everyday depending on the need and frequency of the grid and this used to bridge the gap to some extent. But now it has stopped the overdrawal for last three-four days as matter of policy.
Interestingly, the UPPCL by not overdrawing is only serving the Central Electricity Commission's (CERC) objective of deterring states from resorting to overdrawl at low frequency. The CERC last month increased the penalty (UI rates) on overdrawal by around Rs 10 in a bid to discourage states from drawing electricity more than their allocation. The UPPCL has been one of the biggest violator of the norms on over drawing power for which it had to pay fines imposed by the CERC "for endangering the grid safety."