BENGALURU: Admitting that Karnataka is facing slight shortage of power during evening hours, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, however, dismissed reports of load shedding. “Between 5 and 10 pm, the state is facing shortage of 200-400 MW. Alternative arrangements are being made to address the situation,” he said, following a meeting with officials of the Energy Department on Thursday.
The shortage surfaced two days ago due to a power line problem at Varahi plant, affecting supply of 400 MW, he added. Power supply has also been hit slightly as not all the eight units of RTPS were operational. Karnataka has approved the import of 5 lakh metric tonnes of coal, due to which the state will not opt for power purchase, Kumaraswamy said.
While the CM maintained that all city and town corporation limits and industries were getting 24-hour power supply, the number of complaints registered with the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Bescom) helpline has gone up. The Bescom page on Facebook has also been issuing alerts on power outages in different areas during the last two days.
Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman Sudhakar Shetty told Express, “As of now, industries are not facing any issues. However, on Friday we are meeting the industries minister to discuss various issues, including power situation in the state.”
Blaming the shortage of coal for the slight power deficit, Kumaraswamy said that the state government was in touch with the Centre to ensure supply of coal. “They have assured us supply. There is also a shortage of rakes to carry coal from the mines to our power plants. We are in touch with Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal regarding the issue,” he said.
Coal supply, he said, has been affected by several factors, including the recent cyclone Titli, due to which supply from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd was hurt. He refused to comment on whether the Central government was practising a partisan approach.
To address coal shortage in Karnataka, he said that short-term tenders to import coal will be called by April next year. The state government has also approved a global tender to import five lakh metric tonnes of coal.
Following the tender, Karnataka will be able to import coal from the first week of January 2019, he said, adding that there was a shortage of supply with respect to the previous tenders with coal companies. While 38 per cent of the assured amount of coal was supplied last year under the tender, only 18 per cent have been supplied this year, he added.
An average of over 6,250 complaints were registered in the past two days by Bescom, against an average of 5,200 complaints received between January and June this year. Officials of Bescom, however, maintained that the spike in the number of complaints is due to repair works taken up locally, and not load shedding.
Bescom Managing Director C Shikha said no load shedding has taken place in any of the nine circles in Bescom limits, which includes Bengaluru and neighbouring districts. “We are receiving 1,300 MW power from solar energy and remaining from other sources. If there are complaints of power cuts in Bengaluru, they are likely due to repair works taken up nearby,” she said.