1 UPCL unit down, villages may suffer
Students outside Bangalore will have to literally sweat it out at the SSLC exams, which have just commenced. With a shortage of 600 MW in the next three days, rural areas may get power supply only for 4-5 hours during the day.
On Monday, the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) shut down generation at one unit of 600 MW citing coal shortage.
In January, UPCL had stopped generation in both its units citing coal shortage and the issue was resolved temporarily with the Chief Minister’s intervention. However, electricity supply companies (ESCOMs) owed UPCL upwards of `1,400 crore in January and efforts have been on to settle the bills. UPCL was locked in a battle with ESCOMs over tariff.
According to a BESCOM official, rural areas will have only 15 hours of power supply, 12 of which will be post 6 pm.
This situation, according to officials, is due to the short notice given by UPCL, thus not allowing BESCOM time to balance the power shortage.
“There is not enough time to make a new plan and inform all our stations about implementation. Twenty-four-hour supply to Bangalore also has to be maintained,” an official said. This essentially means that rural areas will face the brunt of the shortage.
The only saving grace, however, is that there will be power at night.
“We will supply power to rural areas post 6 pm and try and ensure continuous supply for at least 12 hours,” the official said.
On Monday, according to the State Load Dispatch Centre figures, UPCL Unit 1 had produced 511 MW while Unit II produced nil. Sources in energy utilities said the issue of coal shortage was expected to be resolved by April 4.
BESCOM had earlier this month agreed to settle its bill of about Rs 99 crore with UPCL immediately to prevent power shortage during exams.
While Sunday’s showers brought cheer to many in the city, thousands experienced power cuts too.