BHUBANESWAR: Arbitrary power cuts have inflicted insurmountable misery on the denizens of the State but neither the State Government nor the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has the courage to own up responsibility for fear of criticism.
While the State Capital is being subjected to more than four hours of load-shedding every day, lack of announcement of the power cut schedule has compounded the woes of the hapless people who are reeling under the hot and sultry conditions with rains making a disappearing act. Less said about the misery of the people in the rest of the State is better.
With Odisha facing an acute shortage of power, thanks to low hydel generation, the distcoms have resorted to un-notified power cut across the State without even bothering to keep the consumers posted about the schedule although it is mandatory on their part to notify load-shedding well in advance. Much to the chagrin of the people, the Energy department took weeks to come up with a plausible explanation on the power scenario while the regulator OERC has been silent for strange reasons.
Although the commission suo motu can take up the matter and issue instructions to the distcoms as well as the bulk supplier Gridco to publicise the issue through the media for benefit of the people, it has been sitting pretty as if it is not its concern. It, on the other hand, has decided to wash its hands of completely.
“The commission has a standing order to the distcoms to notify scheduled power cuts. Besides, since the State Government has already taken up the matter and we do not see any reason in stepping into the former’s shoes,” Secretary, OERC, G K Dhal said. He, however, was clueless as to why OERC, despite having the authority to force distcoms to be transparent, is indifferent.
With both the Energy department and OERC adopting an apathetic attitude, the distcoms have held the public to ransom. In regions where revenue recovery has been low, the distribution companies have gone for a free ride, shutting down power at will on the pretext of repair, renovation and maintenance, in a veiled attempt to save bulk supply bill.
That is not all. The fact that Capital City is experiencing massive power cuts despite being the maximum revenue generation pocket is something “inexplicable.” The Gridco, meanwhile, has said the situation is expected to be normal in the next two or three days. “Since the power generation levels were low both from hydel and thermal sources, we are making an alternative arrangement to provide more power to Bhubaneswar,” Director (Commerce) of Gridco PK Pradhan said.
The State, whose daily demand stands at 3100 mega watt, is managing just about 2650 MW. As a remedial measure, the Government is likely to direct the Independent Power Producers to stop export of power and raise generation to pitch in for solving the power crisis.