State headed for a summer of worst power crisis
For the first time after commissioning the Idukki arch dam, the water level had reached the lowest point with the storage only at 26.09 per cent of the dam’s capacity, a top official of the Dam Monitoring and Research Wing, Cheruthoni, said on Friday.
The water level on Friday was 2,324.5 ft compared to 2,368.02 ft the same day last year. This could be used for generating 560.521 MU of power. The Idukki reservoir generates over 40 per cent of the total electricity consumed in the State. The power generated here is mainly used for meeting the needs in the lean season.
As per the regulations of the Kerala Sate Electricity Board, a minimum water level that could produce 150 MU has to be reserved in the dams. As of now, there is water level for production of 560.521 MU. This is an alarming situation as the storage has reached the lowest level, said the official. The Moolamattom power plant has to be shut down at the dead storage level of 2,280 ft in the reservoir.
The lowest water level recorded in the past was in 1983, following an extreme drought situation. The water level then was 2,326.18 ft. A difference between then and now is that when the water level had drastically fallen in 1983, with almost one foot a day, the fall now is less with one foot in two to three days.
The production level in the Moolamattom power plant has been lowered to cushion the crisis in the lean season. The power generation on Friday was 2.51 MU. The production has been considerably lowered and it was 1.55 MU the previous day, the official said adding that at least four months of the worst power crisis period is ahead now.
Two factors that contributed to the present crisis were poor rain in the catchment areas during the southwest and northeast monsoons and the decision to lower the water level at the peak of the Mullaperiyar agitation after frequent tremors experienced in the region. The Kerala Cabinet on December 1, 2011 took the decision and the water level was lowered after considerably increasing the power generation at Moolamattom.
Top officials of the KSEB are working out strategies to be adopted for setting the production level at the Moolamattom plant.