Thiruvananthapuram: In this year of drought and severe heat, the state’s power consumption has taken a peculiar pattern. Daily power usage has shot up to 75 million units by the last week of March. Yet, allowing KSEBL officials to heave a sigh of relief, consumption is considerably lower than last year.
“Last year, average consumption in March was 75 MU. This year it is only 70 MU even though we had estimated 75 MU,” a top KSEBL official said. A couple of reasons have been attributed to this anomalous behaviour. Firstly, summer rains arrived relatively earlier and brought down temperatures during the middle of March. Secondly, roof-top solar plants might have played a part in keeping the power drawn from KSEB grid at a lower level. “The average demand could be considerably higher than 70 MU recorded for March but it could have been met from the roof-top plants that have been installed atop houses, offices and business establishments,” the official said. Solar power, therefore, could have masked the original demand.
Despite the heat, reservoir position too does not present a scary picture. Thanks to advance planning, daily hydel generation during the last three months was calibrated in such a manner that there would be enough water in the reservoirs to be used during April and May. During the last three months, daily hydel generation was restricted below 7 MU, at times even as low as 3 MU. Now, from the last week of March, hydel generation has been cranked up to 20 MU. More hydel power, though it means reservoirs will be depleted, saves KSEBL from having to purchase costly power from outside.
KSEBL’s strategy is to have enough water in its reservoirs to generate 400-450 MU at the start of June. At the moment, there is water to generate nearly 1250 MU. Also, summer rains during April and May are expected to provide an inflow of at least 200 MU into the reservoirs....