Increase in consumption by farm sector makes situation precarious

The accelerated agricultural operations and non-availability of water in canals are causing agony to electricity officials in the district.

Power consumption by the agriculture sector is increasing by leaps and bounds, with farmers largely depending on borewells to take up nursery and transplantation operations.

What worries officials of the Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited is the phenomenal increase in the number of agricultural services. Power allocations by the Transco do not match the increase in agricultural connections.

The SPDCL is providing 5,000 to 6,000 new connections every year. The company has given not less than 25,000 new connections during the last five to six years. It receives numerous applications. However, the connections are being given based on the quota earmarked by the government.

The SPDCL gave 6,000 new services last year. There were 74,500 agricultural connections in the district consuming 2.5 MU on an average per day in March. As the connections stood at 79,350 as on May 21, the consumption also increased to 2.6 MU to 3 MU.

The SPDCL officials say the region has vast agriculture load potential. Though agriculture loads are fed in three groups per day, the load incident on the distribution network in any group will be not less than 1,000 MW on any day all through the year. The overall consumption of all categories would be around 1,700 MW to 1,800 MW. The agriculture sector continues to consume power, irrespective of season — rabi or kharif. The farmers go for commercial crops as soon as rabi ends.

Erratic supply

The agricultural sector is consuming more than 32 per cent of the total power allocated to the district during peak season. It would be 22 to 30 per cent during the non-season. The agriculture consumption has increased during the last couple of weeks as the kharif season has commenced. Farmers say, frequent disruption in power supply has become a major hurdle and it will lead to withering of crops.

Similarly, non-availability of water for irrigation is compelling farmers to depend on borewells.

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