Power cuts, unscheduled load shedding or whatever else the officials may call it, are back. Over the past week, Bangaloreans have had to put up with long hours of no power supply, ranging from one to even eight hours.
Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) officials throw up their hands saying they are helpless. One of them said the utility was facing a shortfall of more than 30 per cent. “The problem increased after the unit at the Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) failed. Also, the inflow to hydel reservoirs has dropped considerably because of lack of rain in the catchment areas,” the official said.
The situation will improve only if the water levels in the reservoirs increase.
“Given the current storage, we are not able to generate to full capacity,” the official said.
According to information available, the storage at Linganmakki reservoir is just 52 per cent, compared to 79 per cent last year.
Storage at Mani is 46 per cent (63 per cent last year) while it is 41 per cent at Supa (49 per cent last year).
Wind energy generation has plummeted.
During this time of the year, it is usually around 500 MW, but it also has dropped to 70 MW, adding to the shortage.
Two units at Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) are not functioning and generation has dropped to 20.14 million units. While the allocation to Bescom (on Wednesday) was 46.92 MU, consumption was 55.10 MU.
Senior Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. officials pointed out that the units at RTPS are over 25 years.
“The 210 MW units are outdated. They need to be replaced with the 500 MW units. Retrofitting them is a difficult job and given that the State is already reeling under power crisis, we cannot afford to shut down any units,” said an official.
Meanwhile, apart from residents, businesses are suffering because of unscheduled power cuts. Sridhar M., a resident of Arakere, said his area endured three hours of power cut daily. “There is no power supply when I leave for work and when I get back home. The officials at the local Bescom office say they are not able to ensure proper supply due to shortage,” he said.
K. Moosa, partner, Selva Foods, lamented that because of the increasing frequency of power cuts, production had taken a hit.
Mallappa Gowda, panel chairman for Bescom Affairs, Peenya Industrial Area, told The Hindu the city had never ever seen such power shortage during the monsoon. “This shows that the Bescom officials have failed to manage the situation. Consumers are left high and dry,” he said.