The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which had in May declared Punjab ‘power surplus’, has announced to impose load shedding, citing under-performance of private power plants.
In view of the sharp rise in the demand of power due to paddy transplantation and a poor monsoon, the PSPCL has failed to bridge the demandsupply gap.
Domestic city consumers faced power cuts lasting 4-5 hours on Thursday as all four units of the Ranjit Sagar Dam power project tripped in the afternoon, while the private thermal plants of Punjab failed to generate power as per their installed capacity.
Paddy growers got five to six hours’ power supply against the promised eight hours of uninterrupted power.
“Due to the sudden increase in the power demand owing to high temperatures and a deficient monsoon, coupled with less availability of power from the new private thermal plants and lesser hydel power generation, the PSPCL is constrained to go for load shedding,” said PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) KD Chaudhri.
Putting the onus on the two private thermal plants, the CMD said the Rajpura thermal plant, which had two commissioned units of 700 MW (megawatts) each, was only supplying 500 MW, while the Talwandi Sabo thermal plant, which was earlier supplying 660 MW, had stopped generation due to coal shortage. This has reduced the availability of 1,560 MW from independent power producers (IPPs), he added.
“The corporation’s preparations were adequate in anticipation of the poor monsoon, but the reduced power supply from IPPs and lesser hydel generation, has widened the demandsupply gap, forcing the PSPCL to impose temporary regulatory measures on all categories of consumers,” he said.
The PSPCL, which has refused to admit that there is a coal crisis, said, “In view of the precarious situation, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has held meetings with union railway minister Sadananda Gowda, who has assured to get coal supply expedited for thermal plants in Punjab. The situation is likely to improve in four to five days when coal supplies start reaching independent power plants in the state,” he added.