If you get electricity from Mahavitaran, the state power distribution company, you will have to live with power cuts for some more time. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said the power shortage is a national crisis and that the situation would improve gradually.
Mahavitaran, which has 1.9 crore consumers across Maharashtra, supplies power to Kanjurmarg, Bhandup, Mulund, Kalyan-Dombivli, Vasai-Virar Nalasopara, Thane and Navi Mumbai. Domestic users have been facing between three and 13 hours of power cuts daily for around 10 days now.
Frustrated consumers have attacked the Mahavitaran staff and ransacked several offices in the past three days.
The rest of the city, however, will remain unaffected because its power distributors – Reliance Infrastructure, BEST and Tata Power Company – have made arrangements.
A defensive Chavan said the situation is no different in other states. “The southern states and some northern states are facing power cuts because of coal shortage,” he said after the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, adding that efforts are on to procure more power.
The short supply of coal is because of the recent flood in Orissa and the ongoing Telangana agitation in Andhra Pradesh.
Later in the day, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who heads the energy department, went to Delhi to meet Union power minister Sushilkumar Shinde, after facing heat from his Cabinet colleagues who fear the crisis will affect their prospects in the upcoming local self-government elections.
Mahavitaran has a shortfall of 4,000 to 4,500 (MW). This will reduce as the Centre has promised 700MW from its quota, of which 300MW will start coming in from Wednesday midnight.
The coal ministry has assured the state two extra train rakes of coal a day, to raise generation by 700MW. Additional gas supply will boost generation at Dabhol plant in the next 10 days.
Consumer activist Raksh Pal Abrol blamed the crisis on the mismanagement of government-run firms.
Power available at high cost
Sources said Mahavitaran can get 1,000MW from several firms provided the state gave it money. The cost of buying this power will be more than the long-term contracted supply. The firm is not sure if it buys expensive power, the regulator will allow it to recover the additional cost from consumers.
Regulator steps in
Acting on a petition by Anil Bonde, an Independent legislator from Morshi-Warud (Amravati), the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has decided to hold a hearing on the current power crisis. All parties concerned will present their case.
Agitations across state
Consumers set fire to Mahavitaran offices in Badlapur and Nalasopara on Monday.
In Bhandup, people cornered an engineer in his office on Monday.
A senior employee in Aurangabad’s Walunj area was beaten up on Sunday.
Mobs have ransacked offices in Nashik, Chiplun, Yavatamal, Anjangaon Surji and Akot.