Weak monsoon gives KSEB anxious moments

Storage in the hydel reservoirs managed by the KSEB had only 38% storage on August 5. On the same day last year, it was 78%

August 06, 2023 08:53 pm | Updated August 07, 2023 02:13 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Representative image.

Representative image. | Photo Credit: MUSTAFAH KK

Weak rainfall over Kerala during the current southwest monsoon season is giving anxious moments to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

Storage in the hydel reservoirs managed by the KSEB had only 38% storage (equivalent to 1,560.6 million units (mu)) on August 5, the lowest for the day in three years. To compare, on the same day last year it was 78%, the storage equivalent to 3,239.77 mu.

Storage at Idukki

Storage in the reservoir of the 780 MW Idukki hydroelectric project, the State’s biggest, is at 32%. Given the rainfall situation, the KSEB has cut down internal hydropower generation by almost 60% compared to last year. The catchment areas of the hydel reservoirs have received scant rainfall, especially in the past week, a senior official attached to the generation wing said.

The State is banking heavily on power imports to keep supply stable, but KSEB officials rule out a need for power restrictions at present. Of the daily consumption of 82.07 mu recorded on August 5, total internal generation accounted for a mere 18.82 mu. Of this, the share of hydropower was 15.69 mu. Supply from central generating stations and power purchases accounted for the remaining 65.07 mu.

Below normal rain

The present trend in rainfall is likely to persist, indicate India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasts. The two-week Extended Range Forecast anticipates below normal rainfall over Kerala till at least August 17.

The seasonal southwest monsoon rainfall has been weak over Kerala this year. Between June 1 and August 6, Kerala has reported 38% deficiency in southwest rainfall. All 14 districts have reported deficient rainfall during this period.

Daily requirement up

In a recent petition seeking the State Electricity Regulatory Commission’s nod for short-term power procurements to meet shortages, the KSEB had pointed to an increase of 5 mu to 6 mu in the average daily requirement and 300 to 400 MW in evening peak demand.

While a deficient monsoon could prove problematic for the power supply situation, KSEB officials say consumption levels are within the manageable range at the moment. Apart from the existing power purchase arrangements, the Commission recently gave the go-ahead for short-term power purchases to the tune of 250 MW for managing the power deficit till May 31, 2024.

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