THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state's power sector is seemingly facing an end-of-the-world scenario but KSEB Limited does not look even the least bit intimidated. Daily consumption is threatening to shoot up to levels never-before scaled. The official estimate is that daily power use during the summer will touch 82 million units; the existing record is 80.44 MU that was set on April 29, 2016. This will mean that the state's hydel plants will have to be overworked. But hydel can meet just about 30 per cent of the state's power needs.
Meaning, KSEBL will have no choice but to purchase vast quanta of power from private sources, hurting KSEBL's already broken finances. Still, as power minister M.M. Mani has already announced, there will not be any power curbs. Neither the minister nor KSEBL has asked people to consume less power either. This calm in the face of apparent adversity is less the result of smart strategic planning than a glut of power in the national market.
Whereas the daily national demand for power is around 150 GW, the availability is at 330 GW. "In such a situation, it will be a crime for a state to impose power curbs," said A.R. Satheesh, senior associate VP, Carborundum Universal Ltd.
Over supply has doused power prices. What had strutted at Rs 7 or 8 a unit a year ago is now a humble Rs 4 a unit on average. The estimate is that the state's consumption during summer will scale up to 4200-4300 MW; at the moment the peak hour demand is 3600 MW.
1679 MW will flow in as cost-effective central allocation during the summer. And from long-term contracts, 1215 MW is expected. Together the supply from these two sources will take care of 68-70 percent of the summer demand. The remaining will be met mostly from virtually no-cost hydel stations, and a minuscule portion from renewable energy sources. All of this power on an average will cost considerably less than KSEBL's cost of production of Rs 5.5 a unit....