Unprecedented rainfall caused load-shedding, says power distribution unit of Maharashtra

Another reason for load-shedding was excess power consumption by the agricultural sector

mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2017 00:55 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Vishwas Phatak, director of MSEDCL, assured that there will be no further load-shedding in the coming months.(HT)

One of the reasons for the shortage of coal in thermal plants that resulted in load-shedding in parts of Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan last week was unprecedented rainfall in the state, said an official from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL). However, Vishwas Phatak, director of MSEDCL, assured that there will be no further load-shedding in the coming months.

“In November and December, the power demand will reduce, which will ensure that we have buffer-stock for March and April. However, here on, there will be no load-shedding as the coal storage has been restored,” he said.

Changes in coal import policy decisions by the Centre also hampered power supply, said the official on condition of anonymity. While MSEDCL is normally supplied with 30 racks with 4,000 metric tonnes of coal, it fell to 20 racks in the last week. This resulted in a drop of 2,000 MW of power generation which was “critical to avoid load-shedding,” said officials.

Sources, however, said that MSEDCL knows of this scenario every monsoon but is ill-prepared to deal with it. Despite being a power-surplus state, several areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) suffered power-cuts for close to five hours on October 6 amidst severe heat. The state government then called a meeting to review the situation.

Another reason for the load-shedding was the agricultural sector drawing more power, officials said.

Officials said that the electricity generated and supplied by MSEDCL was around 15,700 MW on that day as against the actual demand of 17,900 MW. This, when MSEDCL has also met demands up to 23,000 MW in March, 2017.

How to minimise losses

To minimise losses, the MSEDCL has started asking MLAs to improve payments from their areas. Based on the increase in recovery, the power distribution company will also improve its network in areas across the state. A source privy to the exercise on for the past six months said, “MLAs are being informed to do so to improve the power network in their own areas. If the recovery is Rs 120 as opposed to Rs 100, then the Rs 20 will be re-invested for the area’s benefit. So far, the response has been quite positive to the initiative.”

First Published: Oct 13, 2017 00:54 IST