Staff Reporter

Breakdown in generating units at thermal and hydel stations blamed for power shortage

As against a load projection of 7,489 MW, the supply is 6,800 MW

BANGALORE: Karnataka on Thursday blamed the sudden and unforeseen breakdown of generating stations at Raichur and Bellary and the State and Central hydroelectric stations for the severe power shortage affecting the State.

It said the failure to ensure that the State got the required quantity of power from the Central grid was also a contributory factor for the power shortage. As against an entitlement of 1,534 MW, it was receiving 1,200 MW to 1,300 MW, leaving a shortfall of more than 200 MW.

The State made this submission in the form of an affidavit when a Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice B.V. Nagaratna was hearing a contempt petition by an advocate from Bangalore, G.R. Mohan.

Mr. Mohan had said the KPTCL, Bescom and others had failed to comply with earlier court orders directing them to maintain regular supply of power. He said the electric companies had also failed to ensure supply of regular power to farmers.

In the affidavit, the Energy Department said the State was now getting 325 MW of power from JSW power and 200 MW from cogeneration after it invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act. This section mandates power companies to supply power to the State only.

It said the State was paying Rs. 5.50 a unit of electricity generated by sugar companies. These companies would be paid this amount in April and May 2010. It said it is also paying Rs. 5 a unit for power from bio-mass generating units.

Power crunch

The State admitted to power crunch during peak hours (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and said as against a load projection of 7,489 MW, the supply was only 6,800 MW.

It said power cuts were due to outages over which it had no control. An outage occurs when the power supply trips automatically. Moreover, the first and second units of the Raichur Thermal Power plant were more than 25 years old and, hence, prone to mechanical problems. They each generate 210 MW of energy and when they stop production, the power supply comes down.

The State said it was trying to evacuate 200 MW of power from Gujarat. However, as there was no transmission corridor, the State was seeking the help of Maharashtra to come up with a small transmission corridor to transfer the power from Gujarat to Karnataka.

Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli remarked in a lighter vein that even he was not getting power at his farm in Harnahalli.

The Division Bench asked KPTCL to spell out the timings when it gave power to farmers and adjourned further hearing of the case.