Express News Service
Bangalore: Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, who had boasted about Karnataka enjoying ‘surplus power’ two weeks ago, announced power cuts on Monday.
Bangalore will experience load shedding for two hours a day. The outage stretches to four hours in other cities.
Electricity supply companies (Escoms) will soon come out with a load shedding schedule for their respective areas.
“They are working out the details even for rural areas, where three-phase power is supplied for irrigation pumpsets,” Shivakumar told reporters on Monday.
Bangalore is better off than other cities, though. It is assured power for at least 22 hours every day.
Shivakumar attributed the cuts to a drop of about 1,000 MW in production at the Bellary and Raichur thermal plants, both undergoing repair and maintenance.
The state has also lost about 650 MW from private producers such as the Udupi Thermal Power Corporation (UPCL). Forced earlier to sell power to the state as the government had invoked a section of the Karnataka Electricity Act, they have now obtained a stay. “They are trying to sell power to other states,” he said.
Power generation in Karnataka has dropped from 8,522 MW just a few weeks ago to 7,572 MW now.
“The state government is thinking of a short-term purchase to tide over the crisis. But we are not in a position to afford more than `5.50 a unit,” Shivakumar said.
The recent showers have reduced the demand for power from the irrigation sector, he said.
He was sceptical about the UPCL’s explanation that shortage of coal was coming in the way of its supplying power to the state grid.
“There is a dispute on the price and the UPCL is almost trying to blackmail us. They are demanding `4.50 per unit and we are ready to pay up to `3.75. We may have to shell out about `1,500 crore more if we agree to pay the higher price,” he said.
He also said he would not allow them to sell power to Kerala.
New Solar Policy
The state is looking at non-conventional energy sources like solar, wind and tidal power. A new solar energy policy would be unveiled within a month to boost the sector, Shivakumar said.
“I am going on a three-day visit to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to study the success of solar energy projects there,” he said.
He came down heavily on companies that signed pacts with Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited but have not implemented their solar and wind energy projects.
“We have signed pacts for the generation of 15,944 MW, but the projects are doing just 4,460 MW now. We will issue notices to those who show no urgency. They must get cracking or exit so that more serious players can come in,” he declared.
March 4: We’ve got surplus
April 22: We’re comfortable
May 5: Brace for power cuts
(Energy Minister Shivakumar’s changing tune)