BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State is facing a shortage of around 800 MW of electricity amid sizzling summer temperatures and Gridco at a loss for ways to meet the shortfall, the Energy department on Tuesday seemed unabashed in its proclamation that “all is well”.Bizarrely, the very department barely 24 hours back had shown desperation over the serious power crisis gripping the State and pleaded with even the common man to curtail air conditioner (AC) use during peak hours for the next seven days.
After a review meeting on the power position of the State by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Monday, the department tweeted, “Consumers are requested to regulate their AC load, flexible industrial load and agricultural load during peak hours (7 pm to 11 pm) for next 7 days to maintain stable power supply.”But, a day later, when enquired about the power situation, Principal Secretary Nikunja Bihari Dhal said, “We don’t have a crisis situation. Things are under control.”
The authorities of the State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC), which is responsible for carrying out real-time operations for grid control and despatch of electricity within the State through secure and economic operation, also parried the question and asked this paper to contact the Energy department.Gridco, the bulk supplier of power to the State, also had the same response, clearly indicating that the government is not feeling comfortable to share information on the critical power situation.
The acute power shortage has become glaringly evident across the State, with frequent power cuts and tripping, not even sparing the Capital city Bhubaneswar. The situation in the rural areas is more dire with several districts going without power for hours. But, the government is blissful in denial.
Meanwhile, the move to procure power from outside the State to meet the shortage has failed to yield result. Though Gridco is ready to buy power from open market through the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), there is no availability. This despite the market clearing price (MCP) being as high as Rs 12 per unit.
With as many as 15 states facing acute shortage of power due to short supply of coal to independent and captive power plants, Gridco had placed a day-ahead order at IEX for purchase of 220 MW power. But, the State PSU was offered only 20 MW.
The day-ahead purchase bid at the IEX for Tuesday was for 4.79 lakh MWh while there were sale bids for only 76,347 MWh. This means the country is an facing an electricity shortfall of over 4 lakh MWh.Informed sources said, NTPC has reportedly assured the State government to restore the Darlipali unit which went off the Sate grid due to technical snag on Saturday.
“The power crisis could have been prevented had the fourth unit (660 MW) of Ib Thermal Power Station of Odisha Power Generation Corporation not taken scheduled shut down for maintenance during summer months,” the sources maintained.