According to reports, despite chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s tall claims that AP will not reel under power cuts this summer due to good monsoons and additional capacity coming into operations, it may be yet another torturous summer what with the state already running into a nearly 2000MW (megawatt) or 48 MU (million units) power deficit thanks to the rising mercury and power consumption.
At present, the four discoms, Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Limited (EPDCL), Tirupati-based Southern Power Distribution of AP Limited (SPDCL), Hyderabad-based Central Power Distribution Company of AP Limited (CPDCL) and Warangal-based Northern Power Distribution Company of AP Limited (NPDCL), are able to supply only 11,000MW or 264 MU against the maximum demand of 13,000MW or 312 MU to the nearly 2.58 crore electricity consumers, including the 32.98 lakh agriculture consumers, across the state.
This has forced the power discoms to enforce a two-hour load relief every day in major cities like Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam in two spells of one hour each. This even as other areas, from district headquarters to municipalities and villages are being subjected to power cuts of over three to six hours.
But this is just the beginning. As temperatures inch towards the summer peak during the months of April and May, the authorities expect the gap to widen to nearly 3,000MW or above, largely due to the falling power generation by gas-based power plants in the state due to the shortage of gas, said State Energy Conservation Mission (SECM) chief executive officer (CEO) A Chandra Sekhara Reddy. Of the total 11,000 MW currently being supplied, the state is procuring nearly 3,500-4,000MW from central government-run power generation companies like National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), nearly 4,500-5,000 MW from Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited (APGenco) and the remaining 2,500 to 3,000MW from private sources, including gas, wind and renewal energy like solar.
Speaking to TOI on the sidelines of the formal launch of the ‘Energy Conservation Mission’ of EPDCL here on Wednesday, Reddy said though the state was currently better off than previous summers, the gas shortage has restricted power generation in gas-based power plants to only 500 to 600MW as against their total capacity of 2,770MW.
“To overcome the situation, we have to reduce the demand and supply gap by generating sufficient power and simultaneously trying to save power, both of which is difficult to implement. On behalf of SECM, we have also started conducting awareness camps among the consumers about the importance of energy conservation to tide over the scarcity of power in the future,” Reddy explained.
Meanwhile, speaking to TOI from Tirupati, SPDCL chairman and managing director HY Dora pointed out that the power situation was far better this year as compared to the past couple of years with the discoms, including SPDCL, not imposing massive power cuts so far. According to him, the discoms were recently forced to implement power cuts even in cities due to the rising mercury levels and power demand from domestic consumers as well as the agricultural sector due to the ongoing rabi season. “If the power generation remains the same and demand soars during the peak summer, there will be trouble ensuring uninterrupted power supply,” Dora said.
Admitting to the arguments on soaring temperatures put forth by officials of power utilities, weathermen pointed out that the present temperature conditions were a bit above the normal levels for this time of the year. While Visakhapatnam Airport recorded a maximum temperature of 34 degree Celsius on Wednesday morning against its normal temperature level of 31 degree Celsius. Hyderabad registered a maximum temperature of 33 degree Celsius on Wednesday against the normal of 31 degree Celsius.