BENGALURU: On December 30 last year, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar announced that the state will get uninterrupted power from the start of the new year. But, on the ground, the power situation has remained grim, with rural areas being the worst affected.
Currently, the power demand in the state is around 8,000-8500 MW per day. The demand has come down due to the cold weather. Normally, the demand hovers around 9,500-9,800 MW with a shortage of around 1,800 MW in supply.
Despite lower demands, the state load dispatch centre shows a daily generation of around 7500 MW, which includes power being sourced from central generating stations (CGS) and that generated by non-conventional sources, leaving a shortfall of around 1,000 MW.
A senior official with the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) said there is a disparity between demand and supply of power during peak hours. “The demand in Bengaluru during peak hours is about 3,800 MW but we are getting around 3,200 MW. But there are no power cuts in urban areas,” he claimed.
However, residents of Kasturi Nagar, Hebbal and some parts of South Bengaluru said that load-shedding is being carried out at regular intervals. Srikumar S, a resident of Basavanagudi, said they still face power cuts, but the situation has improved from November.
Rural areas under BESCOM are getting only six to seven hours of power supply for domestic use every day. This is being attributed to the two non-functional units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS).
One unit of RTPS is under annual maintenance from January 2 and the other unit underwent forced outage due to a leakage in the boiler. To top this, the hydel units have not been generating 1,000 MW of power from January 8, as promised by the Energy Minister.
The minister promised six hours of uninterrupted power supply to farmers for running their IP sets, but this is far from reality, said Basavarajappa, a farmer from Tumakuru.
N Lakshmana, Director-Technical, Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation said, “There is no power crisis in Mysuru City and other places under CESC jurisdiction. Our requirement is 900 MW and we are receiving almost the same, hence there is no crisis.”
With enough power, there is no question of power cuts and cities, towns, villages and IP sets are getting uninterrupted power, he said.
However, farmers’ leader Kurubur Shanthakumar denied this. He said IP sets are getting only four hours of power against 6-7 hours promised by Shivakumar. He termed the minister’s promise of uninterrupted power as an election stunt in view of upcoming zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat polls.
Similar claims are being made by Hubbali Electricity Supply Company (HESCOM), which supplies power to the twin-cities of Hubbali and Dharwad. The officials claim that power situation in the residential and industrial areas are up to the mark.
According to HESCOM officials, the power utility is getting 1300-1400 MW of power from the state’s allocation daily, but farmers in this region have a different tale to narrate.
Farmers are only getting three hours of power supply to run their irrigation pump-sets during day time and four hours in the night where Niranthara Jyothi scheme was not implemented despite the fact that demand has reduced as the region is facing severe drought.
A HESCOM official said that villages in the district where Niranthara Jyothi scheme was implemented are getting 18-20 hours power supply. “Around 75 per cent of the villages in the district are getting power under the scheme. In villages where the scheme is not implemented, HESCOM is providing 11 hours of electricity -- three hours during day time and seven hours in the evening keeping in the mind that children will be studying,” a spokesperson said.
Karwar, on the other hand is witnessing regular load shedding. In urban areas, there is load shedding for 2-3 hours a day and up to 3-5 hours in rural areas.
Only single phase power is being supplied to some rural areas. However, HESCOM dismissed this and said that power supply is being cut on rare occasions for repair works. Similar is the situation in Ballari where urban areas are getting power supply but rural areas are affected so much that farmers have started protesting against the situation.
Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (GESCOM) also claimed that it has not imposed load shedding in any of the urban areas in its jurisdiction. Chief engineer Sadashiva said that as of now, they are getting sufficient power for consumers in urban areas.
However, GESCOM is providing seven hours power supply to pumpsets in rural areas with 7-hour load-shedding in rural areas, he said.
The power situation in the two coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi and Malnad districts of Chikkamgaluru and Shivamogga will continue to be fairly comfortable as for now.
(With inputs from Kaluburgi, Hubbali-Dharwad, Mangaluru and Mysuru)