Claims of being power-surplus aside, the same old summertime story is playing again in Punjab. Days after resolving the coal shortage and again promising a “cut-free summer”, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has started outages, scheduled and scheduled, across the state as the demand has gone beyond the calculations.
With an intense heat wave sweeping the region, demand of power in Punjab has already crossed 7,800 MW (over 1,700 lakh units), which is almost 10% more than that from the same time last year. As a result, the last three days saw significant cuts. Though there is no schedule power cut at district headquarters, unscheduled cuts continue, making life even more difficult for people. Overall, the PSPCL admits to imposing cuts of one to two hours in urban as well as rural areas.
On June 6, for instance, the cuts went up to three hours as demand soared to 1,714 LU, while the PSPCL managed to supply only 1,687. Two days before that, the supply fell short by 59 LU, while cuts were imposed on June 5 to bridge a gap of 17 LU.
The PSPCL is thus worried as the peak demand has already reached 7,846 MW, which for the last year was 7,160 MW. “We are worried as supply to the agriculture sector for paddy season is yet to start and the load has already risen so much. The average agriculture supply load is 3,000 MW, which means the total demand will soon cross even our peak capacity of 10,000 MW,” said a power corporation of ficial. Worse, forecast of a weak or delayed monsoon has already made the PSPCL float tender for purchase of 1,400 MW in July.
There is some good news, too. Water level at the Bhakra and Ranjit Sagar dams is higher than previous years, which means the PSPCL will be able to generate more hydel power. Also, that will give farmers more canal water to irrigate paddy fields.