Government sources estimate cut could result in a loss of about 400 MW daily

The Central Empowered Committee of Ministers on gas supply has reduced the quota of gas to gas-based power projects in the State by 2.20 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic metres per day) with effect from August 1, affecting the already precarious power generation and supply in the State.

Government sources estimate that the cut from 3.56 mmscmd to 1.36 mmscmd gas supply to the State could result in a loss of about 400 MW daily. The cut has been imposed to ensure additional supply to a fertilizer unit at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Investment & Infrastructure Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao told reporters here on Friday. This was done reportedly under pressure from Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who was holding the Power portfolio till recently.

Taking strong exception to the move, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is believed to have written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking withdrawal of the order, as it came at a time when the State was facing acute shortage of power.

Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is in Bengaluru, is stated to have called Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, who is camping here, and urged him to restore the gas supply. The Chief Minister has asked Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao and officials to meet Mr. Jaipal Reddy.

The Union Minister asked them to take up the issue with the Prime Minister. Simultaneously, the Chief Minister has asked Chief Secretary Minnie Mathew, who is in New Delhi, to meet the Petroleum Secretary.

Government sources say this is a serious issue as already the installed capacity of the gas-based projects in the State, which together account for 2,770 MW, is being operated only to the extent of 1,100 -1,200 MW - about 38 per cent owing to short supply of gas.

Although this has come as a setback to AP Transco, the impact has not been immediately felt by consumers as yet because no extra power cut is being imposed on them. The domestic and agriculture loads on the lines dropped consequent to the widespread moderate rains.