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Mumbai faces power cuts

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 18:06 IST

Simply by raiding your fridge less often, you can keep the light glowing a little longer in some other less fortunate city household. And that is no mean treat to your conscience at a time the city and the state reels under a debilitating power shortage.

Maharashtra shortage of power is estimated at 5,500-5700 MW. While various parts of the state have four- to 14-hour power cuts, Mumbai has been spared the worst till now. The city already faces a shortfall and it will increase further when it hurts most —summer. So, Mumbai needs to be power efficient and experts say conservation alone can save it from power cuts.

The city’s prosperity and urge for a better lifestyle contribute significantly to widening the supply-demand gap. Increasing number of modern establishments like malls, modern office buildings and complexes, multiplexes, showrooms and taller residential buildings with increased conveniences like central air-conditioning, elevators, lifts and increased lighting add heavily to demand side.

Currently Mumbai needs 2500 MW daily. The distributors somehow manage to cater to the city despite a shortfall of over 100MW. The 20 per cent conservation, as asked by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), would bridge the gap even if by a few hundred megawatts.

Last summer, Mumbai had a shortage of around 300 MW mainly because it did not respond to conservation appeals. Timely intervention by the Centre spared the power cuts. But next few months may be different as the entire nation faces a shortage. Distribution companies will be left with little to source extra power from. They may resort to load shedding.

Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) imposed some restrictions on power use last summer. It penalised those who failed to achieve 20 per cent power conservation. The yardstick was corresponding period of the previous summer. However, the move did not yield desired results as moneybags did not mind paying the penalty. MERC restricted power supply to billboards during peak evening hours.

MERC chairman Pramod Deo said conservation alone might help Mumbai. He has asked distributors Tata Power, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport and Reliance Energy to create public awareness.