The growing gap between supply and demand in the power sector is due to the power policies of the government that are formulated to suit private players such as Reliance, former Union Energy Secretary E.A.S. Sarma has observed.

Earlier, the entire requirement of power of the State was met by thermal and hydro-electrical plants (HEP). “But over the years, priority has been given to gas-based power projects, relying on Reliance oil and gas exploration project,” he said addressing a seminar on ‘Power demand - supply position and alternative resources’ jointly organised by the Greater Visakhapatnam Residential Colonies’ Association Federation and the Visakhapatnam Apartments Residents’ Welfare Association at the district public library here on Tuesday.

The demand-supply gap can be addressed if the present thermal and hydro-electrical projects run to their full capacity, he said. Several gas-based power projects were lying idle due to short supply of natural gas to them, he added.

He questioned the wisdom of the Union government in allowing Reliance to transport gas to other States such as Maharashtra and Uttaranchal from the KG Basin, and promising imported gas supply from Qatar to Andhra Pradesh.

“Gas and oil exploration operations in the fertile Godavari and Krishna basin is resulting in land subsidence and damaging the quality of soil in the area, affecting agriculture,” he added.

The power distribution company was incurring transmission and distribution losses to the extent of 25 per cent though they officially claimed only 15 per cent, APEPDCL retired divisional engineer R.V. Ramana Rao said.

If the losses were controlled up to 15 per cent, the demand-supply gap can be neutralised.

Besides, power consumers can save power by embarking on use of energy efficient lights, fans, air-conditioners, television sets, refrigerators, and other electronic gadgets. By using energy efficient gadgets, 25 per cent of money can be saved in the power bill.

He also advocated use of solar water heaters and lamps on the domestic front. In Bangalore, 95 per cent of the residents were using roof- top solar energy panels, he added.

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