After the state announced load-shedding measures on Thursday, consumers faced power cuts ranging from four to six hours on Friday.
Children using hand-made fans during an unscheduled power cut in Jalandhar on Friday. The power demand-supply gap is widening by the day. Pardeep Pandit/HT
While the domestic consumers kept cribbing about the cuts, the farmers unions led by Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda) held a protest in front of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) headquarters to protest against the failure of the Punjab government to supply eight hours of regular supply to the agriculture sector for the paddy season.
The protestors raised anti-government slogans.
The peak power demand in the state rose above 2,300 lakh units (unrestricted). Against a demand of 2,260 lakh units, the PSPCL could supply only 2,100 lakh units on Thursday.
The power demand increased by almost 10% than the previous years and is set to further increase in the coming days.
“All four units of the Ranjit Sagar dam failed to generate 600 MW power on Thursday, and this led to heavy load-shedding,” admitted a PSPCL official.
Punjab, for the summer, has already inked short power purchase agreements worth Rs. 2,000 crore.
“The demand saw a steep hike owing to operation of tubewells, and the supply cut short by 600 MW from the Ranjit Sagar dam station. Thus, we are left with no other option but to impose cuts,” said a power official dealing with power distribution.
The PSPCL official admitted to imposing cuts ranging from two to three hours in urban areas, three hours in industrial feeders, and four to six hours in rural areas, but the actual cuts are much more as residents of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur claimed that there were power cuts for five to eight hours.
Sources said the PSPCL was also worried about the irregular coal supply to its thermal plants and was not running its thermal projects on full capacity, while hydro units were producing more power than that of previous year. The PSPCL has also failed to get enough power from private power plants.
“Against 2,060 MW, the PSPCL on Thursday got only 510 MW from private power plants. This really has destabilised our operation as the gap further increased to 1,500 MW,” said a PSPCL official communique.