Stories of the Capital facing long power outages in summer are routine. HT spoke to Delhi government’s principal power secretary Shakti Sinha on the issue. Excerpts:
Every summer, Delhi faces power outages due to a gap in demand and supply. Why has the government not been able to fix this problem?
Delhi is a power consumer, not a producer. Every year, its power demand has been increasing but we have met it successfully too. We do face problems in summer, but our effort is to minimise inconvenience.
Even though power demand has increased manifold, our generating capacity has remained more or less the same. Why?
Supply from coal-based plants makes up a big chunk of Delhi’s power. Due to the ongoing fuel shortage, a number of power plants are running below their capacity, which has brought down the original supply. In Delhi too, the Bawana power plant has not been able to work to full capacity due to non-availability of gas. Once functional, the plant can produce up to 1,500MW but currently, it is producing only 230 MW.
Delhi Transco is responsible for the transmission of power and there have been instances of breakdowns in the transmission network which also results in power cuts. What is being done?
Transmission capacity is being enhanced keeping in mind the future requirements of the city. Demand for power has been rising by almost 8 per cent every year and we have to upgrade our infrastructure keeping that in mind. There are a few gaps, which we have recognised, and are in the process of plugging them.
The city’s changing lifestyle has also contributed directly to the surge in electricity demand over the past few years. How is the present infrastructure being upgraded to meet the demand?
We are using latest technology while constructing new sub-stations. Land is a major issue. So we are using technology in a manner that these stations occupy less space. New technology is also being used to make a shift towards smart-grid system.