Company has a shortage of more than 100 MW during peak hours

Failing monsoons and empty reservoirs already have a telling effect on Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) that sees itself with a shortage of power. With a shortage of more than 100 MW during peak hours, officials said power had to be cut in urban areas for at least one hour in the morning and evening, while it was longer in rural areas.

For Mescom, the complaints have been pouring in. While, personnel at rural police stations of Punjalkatte, Kadaba and Sullia said routine power cuts late in the evening engulfed their stations in darkness and hampers taking down complaints or documentation work of cases; several Zilla Panchayat members took Mescom officials to task during the recent review meetings over the past week over unscheduled load shedding.

“We need around 1,000MW per day, but the supply is barely 900MW…Each of our five 220kv sub-stations faces a shortage of more than 20MW,” said U.B.S. Sukumar, Superintendent Engineer (Electrical), Mescom.

He said the percentage allocation for Mescom of total power generated was traditionally reduced to 6.75 per cent, instead of 8.46 per cent allotted during non-monsoon seasons.

“The failing monsoon has hit us two-fold: not only has power supply reduced, the consumption of power due to the lack of rains has increased,” he said.

Just about 50 per cent of the power purchased by Mescom annually comes from thermal power projects. The rest from hydel (at nearly 35 per cent, with a chunk of it, or 20 per cent, coming from projects under the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited), wind, solar, IPP (independent power producers including sugar mills, industrial power generating units) and others.

And among the largest drops in hydel is from the Sharavathi Hydro Electric Project. While, Mescom was allotted nearly 67.5MW of the power generated by the project at the same time last year; this year, the supply has dropped to 20MW, said officials. Similarly, production from mini-hydel projects in the districts and neighboring districts too recorded drop in production.

Complicating the situation is the reduction and unpredictability in the wind energy production from wind farms in Gadag. “From generating 1,000MW to just 100MW (figures that will be divided for all Escoms), their energy production fluctuates on a daily-basis. We have to cut power to large areas if they fail,” said officials.

State Minister for Energy D.K. Shivakumar, who passed through the city here on Sunday, expressed his helplessness and urged consumers to use power sparingly. He said he had visited numerous temples in Chikmagalur district and Udupi district to seek divine intervention.

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