Power shortage could haunt capital in summer

February 26th, 2008 - 1:30 pm ICT by admin  

By Noor Mohd
New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) The spectre of daily power cuts looms over the Indian capital’s residents as the mercury rises. Electricity shortages are projected at over 800 MW in peak summer even as officials say they are preparing well. “The power available to discoms (electricity distribution companies) from the state and central generating stations is only 3,400 MW. We have assessed the peak hour power requirement of Delhi at 4,200-4,300 MW this year, against 4,030 MW last year,” S.R. Shetty, director operations, Delhi Transco Ltd (DTL), told IANS.

DTL is the state-owned utility responsible for transmitting power supply to discoms.

Shetty’s projections leave Delhi with a shortage of 800 MW to 900 MW. Where will this power come from?

“The discoms will have to arrange the balance from other sources to avoid load-shedding. But thanks to an order of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission recently, they can directly purchase power from generating companies,” he said.

A senior executive of North Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL), one of the three discoms responsible for power supply in Delhi, was confident that his company would be able to meet the projected power supply requirement this summer.

“To meet the projected power supply shortfall, we tied up for 80 MW of power supply from Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra between April and June,” said Sunil Wadhwa, chief executive of NDPL.

“The peak power requirement in the distribution areas under NDPL was 1,089 MW last summer. It is projected to hit 1,160 MW this time. Against this, power supply available to NDPL is 800 MW.”

“The balance power supply still remains untied,” he said. “Buying electricity through trading during peak summer might cost as much as Rs.8-9 a unit,” Wadhwa said.

“If the government allocates to NDPL its rightful 90 MW share out of the 299 MW cheaper power supply allocated to BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (the two other discoms in charge of distributing power supply in Delhi) it will obviate the need for NDPL to buy costly power from the free market to meet the projected shortfall,” he said.

BSES, which is in charge of distributing electricity to two-thirds of Delhi consumers, has tied up for additional 150 MW of power supply from the Uttarakhand Power Corp under barter trading arrangement to meet the likely shortfall during April-June.

“BSES had supplied ’surplus’ power to Uttarakhand to help meet peak winter electricity requirement,” the company’s official spokesperson told IANS.

“Meanwhile, we are in talks with other generators to tie up the balance power supply to meet the projected electricity requirement this summer,” the official said.

However, electricity consumer groups say that the discoms sell allocated power supply under the trading arrangement on the pretext of excess availability while resorting to frequent load shedding in their distribution circles.

“The discoms are selling cheaper power supply to other states for profit and not meeting the requirement of the consumers,” said Sanjay Kaul of People’s Action, a non-government body, which has taken up the cause of electricity consumers in Delhi.

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