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No load shedding in Mumbai; rural Maharashtra to bear the brunt

The BJP government is facing sharp criticism over the unannounced power cuts at a time when the state is reeling under a heat spell

mumbai Updated: Oct 07, 2017 00:20 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai power cuts,Mumbai electricity
While the state’s current daily power demand is 17,900 MW, the total generation from state-owned and private plants on Thursday was 15700MW, indicating a shortfall of 2,200MW.(File)

While the rest of the state will continue facing load shedding in the next couple of weeks, for more than six hours in some cases, big cities such as Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune will be exempt.

The BJP government is facing sharp criticism over the unannounced power cuts at a time when the state is reeling under a heat spell.

It all began on Thursday when a sudden drop in 2,200 MW of power supply resulted in outages across the state, including Mumbai and the suburbs. A shortage of coal made things worse as the private power companies, too, failed to generate electricity to their routine capacity. The shortfall reduced slightly on Friday, enabling the government to stop load shedding in bigger cities, which have the lowest line losses occurring out of theft, leakages and low recovery of bills.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited said it will exclude areas in category A and B, which includes Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur, from load shedding. The line loss in these cities is less than 26%. “Secondly, we have decided to purchase 800 MW more from the open market, more than the 700 MW we have been buying currently. Although it comes at a higher rate, the additional supply will help us ease the shortfall,” said an official from the energy department.

The outage in parts of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, also led to the violation of norms set by the regulator. “Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission mandate clearly says load shedding should be planned and the consumers should be informed accordingly. Even though the power outage on Thursday was sudden, the government failed in islanding the city and industrial areas from it. The issue is likely to be taken up while hearing the tariff petitions by MSEDCL,” a source from MERC said. Suburbs such as Mulund, Bhandup and neighbouring areas like Navi Mumbai as well as Thane and Palghar districts faced two to six hours of power cuts.

Power generation in the private plants, with whom the state has the purchase agreement, had dropped drastically owing to a coal shortage. “Against the daily demand of 28 to 30 rakes, it dropped to 15-16 rakes, making it difficult to cope with the shortage. Although the shortfall was anticipated, flooding in the coal mines in South India aggravated the problem. Against the regular generation of 7,000 MW, the state power generator could supply only 4,600 MW, while Adani and Ratan India generated 1,700 and 500 MW against their generation of 3,000 and 1,200 MW respectively. Emco, too, could supply only 100 MW against its routine generation of 200 MW ,” another official said.

Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule announced on Friday there will be no load shedding during Diwali. “We are trying our level best to sort out the shortage of coal and expect the situation to normalize in 15 days. There will be no load shedding in Mumbai and other big cities also,” he said.

Excluding big cities is also likely to affect rural areas which have heavy line losses therefore more load shedding. The areas in E,F and G categories will have maximum load shedding extending even more than six hours, sources said.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 11:35 IST