Storage levels in dams reach ‘critical’ level

There seems to be no immediate respite from the frequent power outages in Kerala as storage levels in dams across the State are reaching a ‘critical’ level and may affect hydel power generation.

Senior officials at the State Load Dispatch Centre, the apex body set up to ensure integrated operation of the power system, said here on Sunday that the State saw a deficiency of 300 MW on Saturday.

“The water level in the dams is reaching a critical storage level. The deficit between demand and supply of power in the State had touched a peak last week that over 20 mu hydel was expended instead of the usual 12 mu for power generation,” Gayatri Nair, Chief Engineer (Transmission) System Operation, at the centre said.

Last week, the State plunged into a crisis with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) resorting to even midnight power outages over and above the scheduled load-shedding. Officials said coal shortage at the Talcher station in Odisha and the reduced allocation of up to 200 MW electricity from the Central pool added to the power crisis in the State.

The board is also dependent on private traders from outside the State. “Private energy traders are hardly honouring power purchase agreements considering the fact that the energy market has become competitive. They do not hesitate to sell energy to short-term markets for a higher price. We have currently agreements for the supply of up to 457 MW, but we are not even getting 100 MW,” M.G. Suresh Kumar, secretary, KSEB Officers’ Association, said.

“We were buying 11 to 12 mu of energy from private traders. But during the first week of April, this quota dipped to just about 4 mu. This was a huge gap. But from today, we have been getting about 9.5 mu from them,” a senior KSEB official said.

Power curbs

On Sunday, officials said the situation had slightly improved with the State getting about 8 mu energy from private traders.

Senior officials said ‘restrictions’ on power usage was the only way out to avert a total grid collapse like the one that the northern and eastern parts of the country witnessed in 2012.

In January last year, an overstrained power generation and transmission structure spreading across 21 States of the North, East, and North-East regions failed, paralysing life in those regions.

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