BHUBANESWAR: A day after the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) made a hefty power tariff hike, the power distribution utilities resorted to massive unscheduled power rationing in the city.
Even as the State is facing power crisis for more than six months due to poor hydro condition in all the major reservoirs, the Capital city remained untouched from power regulation. However, Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) resorted to massive power cuts much to the chagrin of the residents.
While CESU mandarins attributed the unprecedented load shedding to technical snag, sources in the State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC) said that there was a power shortfall to the tune of 1,000 MW. The distribution companies (distcoms) have been alerted about the precarious power situation and they have been advised to regulate power supply as per the availability.
“Scheduled power regulation has to be approved and notified by the State Government. Since the Government has not taken a decision on power regulation, the distribution companies have resorted to unscheduled load shedding,” a senior government officer told this paper on condition of anonymity.
Sources said that Gridco and the distcoms were instructed by the Government to restrict power cuts to the possible extent in rural areas during the election to the local bodies. The restriction on power regulation continues even after the panchayat election in view of the matriculation examination.
The cancellation of the high school certificate (HSC) examination due to leakage of question papers provided an excuse to Gridco to go for power rationing. The hefty power tariff hike was the other reason for the bulk power trading company for load restriction, the sources said.
With mercury rising, the evening peak demand for power has gone up to 3,300 MW while the present availability is about 2,400 MW. While there is huge shortfall of power, the Water Resources Department has restricted the release of water from the reservoirs having hydro power stations. The hydro power stations are the major source of peaking power.
What is more galling is that the OERC, the regulatory body, is not taking notice of the irregularities committed by the major stakeholders, including the State Government, while resorting to power regulation without its approval.