According to reports, the Karnataka government has invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, prohibiting the open access and sale of exportable power by generators outside the state. The directive would come into effect from February 1 and would be in force till the end of this year.
The tentative rate for power supply by generators under Section 11 and those that do not have power purchase agreements with electricity supply companies would be Rs 5.30 a unit, subject to determination of the final rate by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission.
In the directive, the government has cited power deficit for invoking the section that compels all generators to operate and maintain their generating stations to maximum exportable capacity and supply all exportable power generated to the state grid. The Orissa and Tamil Nadu governments have already imposed Section 11.
H S Keshavmurthy, chief engineer, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation, told Business Standard, “The government has taken the decision to meet the increasing demand, in view of constraints in the availability of power. Farmers are agitating and demanding more and uninterrupted power. However, the state has limited power and there are restrictions in the procurement of power due to congestion in transmission corridors. In view of the non-availability of corridors for inter-state transmission of power, the only option left was to tap the power from inter-state generators — around 660 Mw.”
He said Karnataka’s demand was 7,500-8,300 Mw, while the shortage stood at 800-1,200 Mw.
The government order says, “The average state consumption in 2012 has increased 10 per cent, compared to last year. The consumption may rise to 200 million unit during peak summer months. Compared to the previous year, the state has received less rainfall in the catchments of the main hydel reservoirs. As of now, 53 per cent of the state’s generation is met through hydel sources.” It added there was a remote possibility of securing additional power from generators outside, through bidding or bilateral transactions, owing to corridor congestion.
D Radhakrishna, secretary general, Indian Biomass Power Association, objected to the government’s move, as the Supreme Court is scheduled to issue an order on the petition filed by a Central Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Union power ministry challenging the invocation of Section 11. “It is feared states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab may follow suit,” he said.
According to the government, it had tried to tap every possible source of power to mitigate likely power shortages, maintain regularity and minimise inconvenience to the public.