VIJAYAWADA: Urging people to cooperate during the ongoing power crisis, Energy Secretary B Sreedhar said the gap in demand and supply has led to an inevitable situation in the State where power holiday and other curbs had to be imposed on industries to ensure supply to the domestic and agriculture sectors.
Speaking to mediapersons on Saturday, the energy secretary maintained that this is a temporary situation, and added, "We are expecting normalcy to be restored by the month-end, with demand from the agriculture sector dropping after the harvest season."
However, he said if the situation demands, there might be occasional one-hour power cuts for the domestic sector over the next 2-3 weeks and assured the farm sector of seven hours of uninterrupted power supply during the day.
The energy secretary further disclosed that recently a single-day demand of 240 million units (MU) was registered. Sreedhar pointed out that this is a record as it is equal to the demand of the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh.
‘Power holiday in Gujarat and Maharashtra too’
"Today, the power demand for both Telugu states is around 500 MU. In our State, the annual average of daily demand has increased to 190 MU from 132 MU in 2014," he said.
Elaborating on the spike in power usage, Sreedhar said the average demand during summer, which came early in the State this year, is 235 MU per day as against 200-210 MU in March-April 2021 and 160-170 MU for the same period in 2020.
"Two years ago, the pandemic- induced lockdown resulted in the daily consumption of 160-170 MU. In the subsequent year too, while we witnessed the second wave, industrial activity had recovered by 50 per cent. This led to the spike in daily demand to 200-210 MU," Sreedhar observed.
He further said, this summer - with the number of cases on the decline - economic activity has fully resumed leading to a boom in the market.
The full fledged functioning of manufacturing sector, steel, cement, textiles, and other industries has led to a phenomenal increase in demand for power. Besides, the rise in mercury- level and the harvesting season have added to it.
Explaining the demand-supply gap, the energy secretary said as against the daily demand of 235 MU, power production is only 180 MU. Of the total, APGENCO supplies 80-85 MU, NTPC and CGS units generate 45 MU and IPPs, 10 MU.
While solar plants supply 25 MU, wind generates 10 MU. Nuclear and other sources make up for the rest. "There is a gap of 55 MU, of which 30-35 MU is being procured from the market (power exchanges) and the shortage of around 20 MU is now being adjusted with load relief measures," he said.
Stating that the shortfall cannot be fulfilled by purchasing power from the market, the energy secretary said power is being provisioned on basis of demand. He said, in March alone, the State purchased 1,551 million units power from the market at a cost of Rs 1,258 crore, which is Rs 8.11 per unit.
Pointing out that the situation is same in all southern states due to the early summer, Sreedhar said even Gujarat and Maharashtra are implementing power holidays to shed the load.
Elaborating on the reasons for power shortage, he said there is a dearth of coal needed for power production since October last year and added the Ministries of Power, Coal and Railways are regulating it.
"Though we have a scarcity of coal at APGENCO thermal power units, daily requirement is being met. There is no shortfall in power production from these units and each of them is being operated at an optimum level," he clarified.