With the onset of the paddy transplantation season, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has announced to have made all arrangements but the reality is that only good monsoon can save Punjab from power cuts this summer season.
Punjab has failed to add a single unit of electricity in the past six years, despite tall claims of the SAD-BJP ruling alliance to make the state power 'surplus'.
However, the worrisome factor is that Punjab has capacity to supply power up to 8,500 MW and the load has already touched nearly 7,300 MW, that too without the supply to the agriculture sector, which will start from June 10. The Punjab government provides free electricity to the farm sector and has assured non-stop 8-hour supply this paddy season.
During the current season, 27.5 lakh hectare would be under paddy cultivation against 28.18 lakh hectare last time.
As per the PSPCL estimates, it would fall short of 23% power this paddy season.
The PSPCL has made purchase of power worth Rs 1,600 crore for the paddy season. Out of the total procurement of power, 1,950 MW is being purchased for the shorter time period, whereas 3,350-MW electricity would be procured as per the long-term arrangement.
"Against a capacity of 8,500 MW power supply in Punjab, the PSPCL is expecting to cross load of 10,000 MW after all tubewells would become operational. Thus only a good monsoon can save us, otherwise power cuts look imminent," said a senior PSPCL official.
Though the Punjab government has installed capacity of generation of 3,700 MW, it is producing nearly 3,000 to 3,300 MW power daily. From outside, it can bring power up to 5,250 MW. Thus it can supply only 8,500 to 8,700 MW of power. There should be no overdrawal, as the northern grid authorities have become strict this time given the last year's grid failure.
"As of now, we have not imposed power cuts for a single day this summer. As the monsoon is reported to remain 98% and is predicted to hit Punjab in the last week of June, I am hopeful that we will ensure a power-cut free summer," said KD Chaudhary, CMD, PSPCL. He added that the PSPCL have made elaborate arrangements and the rest depends on rain.
"We have the money, but the central government is not allowing us to bring power more than 5,250 MW. In short-term purchase of power, they have allowed us to bring 1,950 MW, which we have already booked. If the union power ministry allows us, we can purchase more power for Punjab. However, despite our requests, they are not allowing us to enhance our transmission capacity from outside the state," he added.
Meanwhile, Chaudhary said the field staff have been instructed to ensure smooth electricity supply.
Power cuts imminent if load exceeds 8,500 MW
Punjab installed transmission capacity is up to 8,500 MW
The load has already touched 7,000 MW
Expected load from agriculture sector is 2,000 to 2,500 MW
Total expected load is above 10,000 MW