A surging demand for power amidst rising temperatures has left Uttarakhand grappling with an acute shortage of electricity, forcing long hours of load shedding in the Himalayan state, officials said on Thursday.
The situation has been aggravated by ongoing work on the transmission line between Haridwar and Dehradun, resulting in long power cuts even during the day and growing resentment amongst people in the state capital of Dehradun.
Though the average power demand in the state is between 30-33 million units daily, it has shot up to 40 million units in the past few days, said officials in the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL).
The state’s hydro-power projects are able to generate 16 million units every day, leaving a shortfall of around 24 million units.
“UPCL is making all efforts to maintain smooth supply of power. We are getting some 17 million units from central pool while purchasing 2-3 million units from the energy exchange,” UPCL spokesperson Madhusudan said on Thursday.
Maximum temperatures in Dehradun has hovered around 39 degrees Celsius, considered quite high in the state, known for its popular hill stations which serve as summer getaways for people from the sweltering plains of the country.
Though Dehradun is generally kept out of the load shedding schedule, the power shortage this time has forced the people of the capital to endure long hours of power cuts.
Sources said the power cuts were also affecting water supply in many areas.
With people staging protest demonstrations in different parts of the capital, chief minister Harish Rawat was forced to step in and ask officials to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the state capital.
“Shifting of power cables is necessary but the timings are very bad. The officials of power and water supply departments must work in coordination to maintain regular and smooth supply of water and power,” officials quoted the CM said in a meeting on Wednesday.
Water supply minister MP Naithani also held meetings with officials of his department, after cutting short a holiday and rushing back to Dehradun.
Anil Taneja, director of the PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industries said many industries particularly food processing units in Haridwar and US Nagar districts have been badly affected by the crisis.