Maharashtra power surplus: So, why are 19 lakh homes in the dark
Most of these families who do not have power connection are from tribal belt of the state. The state government with the help of center now plans to carry out electrification in tribal areas in next three years.pune Updated: Jun 09, 2017 17:09 IST
Back in 2005, Maharashtra was plunged into darkness after state faces power cuts for more than 12 hours every day. As it turned out, the crises in 2005 was just the beginning and lasted for almost a decade when Maharashtra increased its power generation capacity.
Twelve years later, the state became power surplus a feat Maharashtra achieved first time in the history and offered 500 megawatt electricity to Uttar Pradesh. While one hand, Maharashtra added more generation capacities, many families however do not have power connection.
According to state government, as many as 19 lakh homes in Maharashtra yet to get power connection even after 70 years of independence. “It is true that power hasn’t reached to large number of families. The state government has not planned to provide electricity connection to these 19 lakh families,” said Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Energy Minister in a recent interaction.
Most of these families who do not have power connection are from tribal belt of the state including districts such as Nandurbar, Palghar, Pune, Gadchiroli and Amravati. The state government with the help of center now plans to carry out electrification in tribal areas in next three years. “The government aims to provide electricity to these 19 lakh families in next three years. For this project, Centre has approved Rs 2152 crore to ensure no house in the state remains without electricity,” said the minister. While the Central government will bear 60 % expenses, State government will spent 10 % and the remaining money is being raised through loan. Among the 19 lakh families, state plans to lay power cables while rest of the seven lakh houses, mostly from extremely remote areas such as Melghat in Amravati, will get electricity through solar projects.
As per the estimates, Maharashtra this year is power surplus by 5000 megawatt. Shantanu Dixit, Group Coordinator, Prayas (Energy Group) said, “Excess electricity in state can also turn into a crises as the government will have to look to buyers. Today every state is building additional capacity of power generation. Under such circumstances, government will have to look for private buyers,” said Dixit.
Interestingly, the surplus power has not eliminated power outages in other parts of states particularity rural Maharashtra where recovery has been less than 50 %. According to minister, Maharashtra’s electricity arrears from farm land owners has touched a whopping amount of Rs 17000 crores.
WHAT IS POWER SURPLUS?
Surplus power occurs when supply of electricity at given time exceeds the demand. A surplus can be due to less demand or excess generation of power. In Maharashtra, while the demand has grown over the years, its supply to has increased.