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Yawning power gap makes UP folks sleepless

Load-shedding and breakdowns are the order of the day as the demand for power shoots up with no matching increase in supply. At 20.6 per cent, the power deficit in the state is one of the highest in the country, reports Brajendra K Parashar.

lucknow Updated: Apr 15, 2010 21:28 IST
Brajendra K Parashar

The state is feeling the heat on the power front.

Be it cities, small towns or villages, the story is the same everywhere. People are going without electricity for hours. Often, there is no water either. A yawning demand-supply gap is at the root of the problem. While the demand for power is growing at the rate of 10-12 per cent every year, there is no significant addition to capacity. Thus, UP continues to be one of the most power-starved states in India.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA)’s latest statistics show that the power deficit in UP last month was 20.6 per cent against the all-India figure of 13.3 per cent. Power deficit is defined as the gap between power required (demand) and the demand met (actual supply).

In the northern region, comprising nine states, the overall deficit was the highest in UP. Haryana at 12.9 per cent and Punjab at 11.2 per cent were next. At the all-India level, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh had a similar or greater deficit at 25.5 per cent, 21.5 per cent, and 21.5 per cent, respectively. There was hardly any state, except probably Jammu and Kashmir, that was not power-deficient. As for the peak demand deficit, the shortfall in UP was 22 per cent, next only to Chandigarh and Haryana, both at 25 per cent, in the northern region.

“The shortfall is bound to have gone up during the current month, which is one of the hottest-ever,” said a senior UPPCL official.

He added that the demand for power nowadays was crossing 9,000 mw, but the total availability was not more than 6,500-7000 mw. Thus, the gap is in the range of 2,000-3,000 mw.

No wonder, the UPPCL is not able to supply electricity to consumers as per the schedule. It is forced to increase rostering.

That also explains why the cities as big as Kanpur and Varanasi are reeling under additional power cuts. Even industries are facing six-hour load-shedding from 10 pm to 4 am. The local load shedding, apart from the official one, on account of overloading or frequent breakdowns, adds to the woes of the people.

With such being the situation, an SMS, circulated recently said, “Do you know the secret of development of Uttar Pradesh?” As the answer, it added, “ Here people celebrate every 10 minutes by saying ‘bijli aagai’ (Power supply is back).

As of now, the authorities do not have any solution in sight. They feel the situation may remain the same by and large till storms or the monsoon lowers temperatures and the electricity load. UPPCL Additional MD Narendra Bhooshan attributed the problem to increased demand all over the northern region. “We are doing our best to mitigate the crisis by trying to purchase extra power from all possible sources, though there is scarcity everywhere,” he said.

State capital feels power pangs

Many areas of the city and its outskirts reeled under power cuts on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Residents of Uthretia, Raebareli road, Awas Vikas and parts of Sainik Nagar were powerless for many hours. The 11 KV Uthrethia and 11 KV Awas Vikas feeders developed technical snags at 9 pm on Tuesday. These were repaired at 12 noon on Wednesday.

Residents of Sarojini Nagar, Alambagh and Singar Nagar had to face power cuts as the LESA I feeder developed a technical snag at 10 pm on Tuesday. The snag was repaired at 4 pm on Wednesday. Asked about the power cuts, a LESA engineer said, “The maintenance of most of the power lines and transformers is poor. The cables are old and need to be relaid.”