Punjab’s power demand shoots up by 25% with rising temperatures
Even as farmers fear crop loss due to above-normal temperature this season, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited officials are also worried as the power demand has shot up by 25% this February as compared to corresponding period last year.
Even as farmers fear crop loss due to above-normal temperature this season, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials are also worried as the power demand has shot up by 25% this February as compared to corresponding period last year.
While the maximum temperatures in Punjab and Haryana have been hovering above normal limits for several days, minimum temperatures too had registered an increase.
According to the Punjab Load Dispatch Centre data, the power demand has already reached 8,848 MW, which is almost 25% more than of previous year in February.
February is considered lean period as there is no use of room heaters and other heating equipment.
“In January, the demand was 9,098 MW, almost 28% higher than the previous year for the same period. It was said that the demand rose because of the intensive chill. But 25% jump in demand this February has left us worried,” said a PSPCL official.
“Free power to the domestic sector is to blame for the rise in demand, as there is no calculation how the consumers will behave. We need advance planning to buy power as short-term purchase is always costly,” said a power engineer. He said PSPCL’s top management is monitoring the situation.
As agriculture experts have advised wheat growers to apply light irrigation as per requirement, the power demand has increased, say field officials. However, it is mainly because of free power as consumers are trying to use 300 free units, they added.
Last year, the PSPCL successfully met the demand of 14,311 MW, but this year, the demand is likely to exceed 15,000 MW, which is a tough task for the corporation, said an official. The coal crisis is also another concern, which the government should take up, he added.
“Ever since the free power was announced, except for December last year, the average power peak demand has been increasing by 15% or above every month. It is a cause of concern as Punjab has not added to its power generation capacity,” said a PSPCL official, who didn’t wished to be named.
All India Power Engineers’ Federation spokesman VK Gupta said free power is not a feasible option as it not only takes a toll on financial resources, but also leads to miscalculations of power demand. “Overall, it will be a tough summer for the PSPCL due to coal crisis and fund crunch in the PSPCL. There is a need to address these issues for early power purchase planning as Punjab can’t meet the power demand without raising the allocation from the Centre government,” he said.