The unprecedented power crisis that has Maharashtra in its grip has forced the government to clamp down on excessive electricity consumption by malls, advertisers, street lighting and government offices.
The state on Wednesday also increased power cuts for industry to 40 hours a week
On Wednesday, Chief Secretary Johny Joseph directed power companies to reduce supply to all government and municipal buildings, as well commercial establishments, by 10 per cent. He wants a 20 per cent cut for those ventures that have high power consumption — such as malls and hoardings. Every alternate streetlight may also be switched off.
The state’s hand was forced by the paltry rain, which could hit hydropower generation and raise demand. This is probably the first time the government has adopted such severe measures to save power in the middle of the monsoon.
In a meeting called to review the energy situation, Joseph said the rain shortage has added to the demand-supply gap during the non-summer months. The situation is worse than peak summer when the shortfall was lower than the current 5,000 MW, said an Energy Department official.
Barring Mumbai, the rest of the state — including the eastern suburbs — has to endure four to 17 hours of power cuts every day. Earlier, the state had stopped zero power cut schemes in four cities.
Joseph said he has asked officials to form coordination committees to check excessive use of electricity and any law and order problems that might arise from unscheduled power cuts.