As Punjab’s industry goes free of peak-load-exemption charges (PLEC) from Monday (August 1) after three decades, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) expects a 1,000-megawatt surge in demand. Some other consumer sections may have to face power cuts for some time.
In its tariff order announced last week, Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) waived the PLEC charges, which removed all restrictions on the use of power. August 1 will also mark a shift from rationing to surplus electricity, a situation where the corporation wants all sections, industry in particular, to now consume more energy.
Nearly 3,000 large-scale units in the state — in Amloh, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Ludhiana mainly — have opted for PLEC. Five grid substations that feed industry in this belt might experience fluctuation and another 150 come under stress. PSERC chairman DS Bains visited the state load dispatch centre (SLDC) in Patiala to look at the control room that will respond to breakdowns and other exigencies if the industry increases its consumption.
“In the first week of removing peak-load restrictions, we will study the pattern of the increase in consumption, if any, and decide after that whether to run state-owned thermal-energy plants or make arrangements for more power,” said PSPCL chairman and managing director KD Chaudhri.
“Less demand has led us to shut six units in three stateowned plants of 1,150 MW capacity. We can restart them if the demand shoots up. First week is crucial,” he said.
“Our worry is from where to get 1,000 MW, if the demand shoots,” the CMD said. From Monday, there is no restriction on power consumption during peak-load hours, but for two months —August and September — it will be charged at Rs 2 more for each unit.
PEAK - LOAD EXEMPTION CHARGES
O Peak-load-exemption charges are extra charges for any power consumption more than 5% of connected load or 50 kilowatts (whichever is higher), for three hours (6pm to 10pm)
O The amount of power sanctioned to the industrial unit will be changed, even if not consumed
O Rs 2.7 per unit extra cost, if power consumed is 60% of the sanctioned load for restricted timings, and Rs 4.20 per unit, if consumption exceeds 60%
O PLEC came into practice in the mid-1980s, when power supply was required to be regulated
O 6pm to 10pm is when consumption is at its highest in homes, shops, and industry.