Here is a fit example of the treatment aggravating the disease! The statewide drive the UPPCL began last year to enhance capacity of 600 overloaded distribution sub-stations to rid people of power pangs resulting from the overloaded system is now causing a problem of a different kind.
The much-needed capacity enhancement drive (treatment) has dramatically driven up the demand for electricity in the state-so much so that demand management is becoming an uphill task for the highly electricity-deficient UPPCL. And it is just resorting to indiscriminate load shedding all over the state to cope up with the situation, anyhow.
The Shakti Bhawan was last year flooded with complaints about people not getting electricity not because of official load shedding but due to phased local rostering that the local officials had to do to relieve overloaded sub-stations. There were massive complaints about low voltage problem for the same reason to the extent that farmers' pumping sets and tube wells neither did nor run because of lack of proper voltage.
Faced with such complaints from various parts of the state, that too during the drought last year, the UPPCL chalked out an ambitious plan to enhance the capacity of all the overloaded sub-stations as a permanent solution to the problem. Since then the UPPCL has already increased capacity of more 400 sub-stations out of more than 600.
While the exercise did rid consumers of the overloading-induced woes like local rostering and low voltage, the exercise at the same time increased demand for power also. Thousands of consumers, who otherwise could not use electricity despite it being available, on account of overloading related disruptions, now make best of electricity if it is available.
So, UP, in April, is experiencing power demand at the level it did during the severe drought in June last year. " In June last year when there was severe drought all over, the demand for was for power was 200 million units. In terms of megawatt, the demand was crossing 9,000 mw. But the state has started experiencing that much demand in April itself, despite the fact that we are now supplying 15-20 per cent more electricity every day vis-à-vis previous year" said UPPCL additional managing director, Narendra Bhooshan.
He claimed enhancement of capacity of sub-stations and transformers had a major role in increasing the demand for electricity as people, he pointed out, were able consume power without local disruptions they earlier used to face because of overloading. "Our system was overloaded by 26 per cent lat year but now it has come down to just 12 per cent," he disclosed.. The impact on demand, according to Bhooshan has been most in the western UP where largest number of sub-stations had been identified for capacity enhancement.