Punjab engineers seek review of free power policy as consumption peaks

They have also called for changes in office timings, early closure of malls and commercial establishments, and a review of the free power policy.
Punjab engineers seek review of free power policy as consumption peaks

CHANDIGARH: As the ongoing heatwave continues to sweep Punjab and Haryana for several days, with Bathinda recording a scorching 46.9 degrees Celsius today, and ongoing paddy transplantation pushing power demand to an all-time high, breaking last year’s record of 15,325 MW over the past three days, power consumption has increased by 43%. Therefore, the All India Power Engineers Federation has sent a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, warning of potential power shortages as demand rises.

They have also called for changes in office timings, early closure of malls and commercial establishments, and a review of the free power policy.

The letter, a copy of which is with this newspaper, states, ‘This is in continuation of my letter no. 36 - Heatwave dated June 3, addressed to the Prime Minister and endorsed to your good self. While the situation of power availability and supply is becoming increasingly serious, neither the Union Government nor any state government has taken steps to control power demand. If the current situation persists, there is a significant risk of grid disturbances.

In Punjab, power consumption has risen by 43% from June 1 to 15, 2024, compared to the same period in 2023, with Maximum Demand increasing from 11,309 MW in June 2023 to 15,775 MW in June 2024. With additional agricultural load expected to rise by the end of June due to paddy cultivation across the state, the power situation may become unmanageable.’

“The situation will worsen unless the following steps are implemented immediately: Office timings should be adjusted to 7 am to 2 pm, all commercial establishments, malls, and shops should close by 7 pm, peak load restrictions should be imposed on industries. Paddy sowing in remaining areas of Punjab should be postponed to June 25, with strict enforcement.

Water-intensive varieties should be banned, and varieties like PR126 and Basmati, which mature in 90 days, should be encouraged. Power theft should be treated as an offense under NSA. The policy as a state policy should be reviewed immediately, and the Union Minister of Power should be approached to allocate at least an additional 1000 MW from the central pool,” the letter adds.

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