Lifting of power cuts by the utilities is likely to be a short-lived affair as they are anticipating an average shortfall of over 70 million units daily during the next two months.
The present fall in daily shortage to 40 MU allowing the utilities to partially lift the power cuts was due to closing of the rabi operations, but this relief is likely to be temporary as the demand-supply gap is expected to widen in the coming days. Owing to the heavy load from the domestic sector, the demand supply gap is likely to reach 60 MU shortly, according to AP Transco CMD Hiralal Samaria.
Mr. Samariya who reviewed the situation with senior officials of the four Distribution Companies here on Thursday told reporters that farmers would resume operation of pumpsets for kharif from the first week of next month and continue it through July, straining the grid again. The situation would aggravate in the event of failure of the monsoon and the utilities would be forced to resort to drastic cuts as was witnessed till recently. The cut for mandal headquarters would be reduced from eight to six hours and some relief would be provided to small-scale industries. Mr Samaria said severe shortfall was due to a 50 per cent fall in hydel generation (from last year’s 6,000 mu to 3,152 mu this year) and drop in availability from gas-based plants (15,000 mu to 8,000 mu).
As part of the action plan adopted to tide over the crisis, tenders were being finalised for short-term purchase of 2,000 MW. Bids were finalised for 880 MW of 2,000 MW planned under medium-term buying. North-South transmission corridor could be booked for the State for 550 MW, nullifying efforts made by Karnataka to get the same.
On the other hand, the grid would get 4,300 MW of extra capacity this year, starting with 800 MW at Krishnapatnam, 600 MW at Bhoopalapalli and 520 MW of Hindujas, all from October. He said Transco was better placed financially, as it had brought down the loan burden from Rs. 13,800 crore to Rs. 11,900 crore and decided to not take any fresh loans.