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Lights out: Power front looks up

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 16:14 IST

AS CHIEF minister, Digvijay Singh, who tripped in assembly elections over power crisis in Madhya Pradesh,  would often optimistically plead to the State’s people to wait till 2007 for a turnaround. But the electorate was too desperate to wait that long.

Now, 2007 is here. Will Digvijay Singh’s words come true? Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board chairman (MPSEB) and Chief Secretary Rakesh Sahni believes the power situation has improved considerably. “People of the State can rest assured of much better times as far as availability of electricity is concerned in 2007,’’ he told Hindustan Times, adding various power projects would generate more electricity this year.

With the demand for electricity in the State projected to go up by about seven per cent in 2007 and generation by 1300 MW, the MPSEB and its allied companies have tasks cut out for the year. Board officials are confident of achieving the targets.

“Strengthening power supply system, improving voltage, reducing transmission and distribution (T&D) losses and curbing power theft will be our top priorities for this year,’’ says Energy Secretary Sanjay Bandopadhyay. 

The State will be getting an additional 1230 MW this year, he added. Of that, nearly 710 MW will be thermal while the Omkareshwar project is likely to generate about 520 MW hydel power from this year.

“While 500 MW additional electricity will be available from February 15, another 200 MW is expected in July and the subsequent months,’’ Bandopadhyay maintained. 

Besides, the State has got permission for closure of gates in the Indira Sagar Project too. This would mean increase in machine hours at the project and more power generation, the secretary said.

Another good sign is increased water table due to a good monsoon in 2006. That has enabled the MPSEB to provide nearly seven lakh temporary pump connections during this Rabi season.

However, the pump connections had a flip side too. They contributed to power loss,  “The maximum such pumps were in Malwa, Bhopal, Gwalior and Sagar regions,’’ Bandopadhyay said.

Nonetheless, MPSEB supplied record power during the year in spite of the increased demand, he asserted. The average demand met in December 2006 was 5674 MW while it was 4703 MW in the corresponding month in 2005.

Similarly, the average energy supplied per day in 2005 was 1,023 lakh units while it increased by 11 per cent in 2006 to 1,143 lakh units per day, Bandopadhyay stated.

“Both these indicators would increase further through our concerted efforts to streamline the power system in the State” he maintained.