Punjab crops may face brunt of power outages

Punjab could witness power outages in the coming months (May to September), affecting crop production.

Published: 13th March 2023 08:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2023 08:44 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express Illustration)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  Punjab could witness power outages in the coming months (May to September), affecting crop production. The power demand is expected to touch 15,335 MW, an all-time high in the given period. The demand for the corresponding period was about 14,300 MW the previous year.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) has filed a petition under Section 23 of the Electricity Act, 2003 seeking regulatory guidance and concurrence from the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) for the measures in case of power cuts for the tariff year 2023-24.

The PSPCL petition says the corporation is expected to be surplus in power availability only from October 2023 to March next year. However, there is a gap between the power availability and demand from May 2023 to September 2023, and it is expected that the requirement to regulate supply to various categories of consumers and imposing power cuts would be necessary.

The PSPCL has also provided the details of the anticipated power demand and availability of electricity for the year 2023-24 in the petition. The corporation has stated that it would regulate the supply only in case of unavoidable exigencies and after incorporating the latest anticipated banking arrangements/short-term purchases for the period FY 2023-24.

The petition further mentions that the extent of power regulatory measures on a range of consumers should be equitable with an objective to ensure quality power in the most economical and reliable manner in line with the national/state grid code in the year 2023-24.

In the petition, the PSPCL has also stated that the existing total transmission capacity of Punjab has been fixed by Northern Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC) at 9,000 MW. It also expressed apprehension that any reduction of internal generation due to forced outages may require the emergent imposition of power regulatory measures during the year 2023-24 to keep the system running within the limitations of the grid code.

The post-grid collapse of July 2012 led to stringent grid regulations applicable for deviation from the schedule. The regulations include severe penalties in terms of high deviation charges. The availability of power has to be maintained around the running load for safeguarding the grid.

Blabir Singh Rajewal, president of BKU (Rajewal), Punjab said if there are long power cuts in the upcoming summer months again, paddy, basmati, cotton and maize crops could be affected due to lack of irrigation and then farmers will have to use diesel generators, pushing up the cost of production. Last year and the year before saw long power cuts, leading to sit-ins by farmers for making available the power supply for the crops.

“The price of diesel has been skyrocketing. It is not a viable option for the farmers to irrigate their crop with the diesel-run-tubewells,’’ said Partap Singh Bajwa, Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly.

Demand at all-time high

  •   State power body projects all-time high demand of 15,335MW between May-Sept
  •   PSPCL files plea before regulatory body for likely steps in case of power cuts
  •   Farmers say if there are long power cuts, paddy, basmati, cotton and maize crops could be affected as input costs will go up


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