Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Power Department sends letters to distribution companies

Department is banking on the economic slowdown to contain the demand for power

Discoms asked to firm up buying-selling arrangements well in advance

NEW DELHI: The economic meltdown that has affected industrial production and public awareness about the need to conserve energy might help cap the demand for power this summer, but the Delhi Government’s Power Department says it is taking no chances.

The department has shot off letters to the Capital’s power distribution companies asking them to arrange “adequate power” for the months of April and May. With elections round the corner, the discoms have been advised to err on the side of caution.

“We do not expect the peak load to cross 4,200 MW, but to play safe we have asked the discoms to make arrangements for meeting up to 4,400 MW of peak demand,” said Delhi Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar.

He said the department had been reviewing the power situation in the Capital every 15 days and will soon have weekly meetings to ensure that “all necessary steps are taken to secure adequate power for Delhi”.

Power Department officials said last year’s “mild summer” and the energy conservation drives launched by the State Government helped in limiting the demand for energy. But this year the Department is banking on the economic slowdown to contain the demand for power.

“The total energy demand for the current financial year has been 1.5 per cent lower than the previous one. Though the peak in April 2008 was 3,850 MW, we do not expect the peak to cross 3,500 MW this year, because recession has affected industrial production and consequently consumption of energy by industries will be lower,” explained an official.

The Department has also asked the discoms to firm up buying-selling arrangements well in advance keeping in mind the spiralling cost of power. “In the coming weeks, elections will be in full swing. All the States will need power and will be willing to purchase power even if it is expensive. The price of power at the power exchange has escalated to Rs.11 per unit. So if the discoms do not make the required arrangements now, they will have no option, but to spend more,” the official said.

Another reason for the discoms to act fast is fear of stringent action by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission against grid violations and over-drawal by States.

“North Delhi Power Limited has banked 100 MW with Himachal Pradesh, even then the price per unit is Rs.8 for the month of April. Keeping the elections in mind we have urged the discoms to make sure their deals are inked well in time,” the official said.