Power crisis deepens as NTPC unit trips

Hyderabad Oct. 5. Power supply in the State suffered yet another setback on Saturday with a 500MW unit of the NTPC complex at Ramagundam tripping due to a tube leak. This, coupled with the present supply-demand gap, takes the total shortage to 14 million units.Out of the unit's 500 MW, the share due to Andhra Pradesh is about 150 MW which works out to 4 million units per day.

The remainder of 10 mu shortage is caused by stoppage of generation or poor show by some hydel stations, including major ones like Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar. While the total supply made on Friday was 139 mu against a demand of 149 mu, all hydel plants together could contribute only 13.7 mu as against 25 mu which used to be their output around this part of the season. The Transco stopped purchases from Gridco "due to several hitches'' and the Eastern Grid is the only external source from which the transaction is being made now.

On the plus side, the Simhadri second unit (500 MW) rejoined the grid today, giving about 300 MW, and "firing'' was on for revival of the Neyveli plant (1,477 MW) from which the State is to get 277 MW as its share.

According to the Transco CMD, Rachel Chatterjee, the revival is "most likely'' from October 8.

Meanwhile, the loss to be suffered by the Transco on account of the waiver given to farmers against their dried-up borewells or crops has been estimated at around Rs. 150 crores for the period from June first week and "the Government will reimburse this amount'' to the Transco, stated the Energy Minister, K. Subbarayudu, at a press conference here this evening after having a videoconference for the second consecutive day with CMDs and CEs of the four discoms and the district SEs.

The Minister undertook the interaction at the instance of the Chief Minister.

According to the feedback from discom CMDs and the district staff, the system is facing two hurdles -- overcoming the shortage and coping with the revised agriculture schedule without interruptions as is being strictly insisted by the Government.

The fallout, it was found, was that "overlapping'' of the agriculture and domestic/industries feeders continued despite utmost care, resulting in "overloading'' of some feeders. To save the system from possible tripping, ground-level staff had to take load relief on some feeders serving non-agriculture sectors. As a direct consequence, the power cut is going beyond the officially announced six hours in the case of about 20 towns/urban areas in the State, including Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool, Warangal, Karimnagar, Ongole, etc.

The Minister and the CMD pulled up discom CMDs/CEs for not posting ADEs at each 220-KV and 132-KV sub-stations for being contacted by the State Load Despatch Centre at Mamidipalli here. They wanted the district SEs to hold local-level press conferences and issue ads in newspapers informing the farmers of the "benefit'' of their timings. They also wanted them to "go about the villages and interact with farmers'' clearing doubts about the timings or any other problem.

Mr. Subbarayudu said the electricity staff would have to work like soldiers for saving the standing kharif crops.

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