Punjab stares at power cuts as demand hits all-time high - Hindustan Times
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Punjab stares at power cuts as demand hits all-time high

ByVishal Rambani/Karam Parkash
Jun 19, 2024 05:44 AM IST

Punjab government writes to Centre for 1,000 MW more from the central pool. The Union government is yet to respond to the state.

Chandigarh/Patiala: With the intense heatwave sweeping the region, the power demand has almost hit the roof in the state as the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) on Tuesday afternoon supplied an all-time high of 15,963 megawatts (MW), slightly below its maximum capacity of 16,000 MW.

A PSPCL official says that if it doesn’t rain soon, authorities will have to impose power cuts as peak power demand will cross the maximum capacity of 16,000 megawatts.
A PSPCL official says that if it doesn’t rain soon, authorities will have to impose power cuts as peak power demand will cross the maximum capacity of 16,000 megawatts.

This is highest-ever power supplied to consumers by a northern Indian state. The state government has sent a letter to the Centre, urging it to allocate 1,000 MW more from the central pool. The Centre has yet to respond to the state.

Overall, owing to free power clubbed with heatwave has destabilised the PSPCL plans as the demand has risen by 43% from last year against a usual trend of increase of 10 to 15%. The deficit rainfall in May and June has also led to increase in demand.

The paddy sowing is set to be on full swing from June 20 onwards and if there is no rain or dip in temperature, the demand will further increase beyond the 16,000 MW. The PSPCL has a limit of carrying 9,500 MW from outside the state through the northern grid while it has its own generation of nearly 6,300 MW.

As soon the power demand touched 15,963 MW, sources said the PSPCL had to impose sporadic unscheduled (clandestine) power cuts to save the power grid from tipping off. “If it doesn’t rain in the coming days, the PSPCL, in the face of paddy transplantation picking up pace in the state, will have to impose power cuts as peak power demand will cross the maximum capacity of 16,000,” said a senior PSPCL official.

Another official admitted that it would not sustain such load for a long time. “There is a need to control the supply up to 15,000 MW for smooth functioning of grid and internal power supply lines of Punjab,” he said. He said the PSPCL was giving power to farmers during day, thus the peak demand was hitting in the noon hours. Earlier, the agriculture sector used to get power in the night hours.

“Now, everything depends on rainfall. We have reached our maximum capacity. We are doing our best to supply electricity without any cut. We are on the edge,” said a top official of PSPCL.

Meanwhile, the PSPCL has a coal stock of 22 days for the Lehra Mohabbat plant, 13 days for the Ropar plant and 21 days for the Goindwal Sahib power plant. The Nabha Power Limited has a coal stock for 23 days while the stock of Talwandi Sabo plant is just for 3 days.

As the increase of demand led to failure of some lines in the northern grid for a few minutes, the Centre has also asked the states to limit their drawl and maintain the grid frequency.

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