The tall claims by the Punjab government of the state being power surplus fell flat on Monday, the very first day of the paddy-sowing season, as the Power Corporation imposed power cuts in the state ranging from four to eight hours.
The power demand in Punjab rose by 1,000 MW on the first day of the start of eight-hour power supply to the agriculture sector.
Against a demand of 1,888 lakh units, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited managed to supply only 1,781 lakh units on Monday. The power demand increased by 254 lakh units on a single day and is set to further increase in the coming days. It touched a figure of 2,000 lakh units on Tuesday morning.
As the Nathpa Jhakri hydro power-station in Himachal Pradesh was out of production, the power scenario in Punjab remained bleak on Monday. Punjab gets 400 MW from this station.
The demand saw a steep hike owing to operation of tubewells, and the supply cut short by 400 MW because of the Nathpa Jhakri station. Thus, we are left with no other option but to impose cuts ranging from 80 lakh units to 120 lakh units, said a power official dealing with power distribution.
The PSPCL official admitted to imposing cuts ranging from half an hour to one hour in cities, three to four hours in industry, and four hours in rural areas, but the actual cuts are much more as residents of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur claimed power cuts for five to eight hours.
Sources said the PSPCL is also worried about the irregular coal supply to its thermal plants, and is not running its thermal projects on full capacity, while hydro units are producing more power than that of previous year.
Meanwhile, rain on Tuesday afternoon in Amritsar and nearby areas relaxed the power demand, as the demand went down by 600 lakh units. The Nathpa Jhakri is also back in operation, improving the situation, said officials.