THIRUVANANTHPAURAM: Summer showers had for a small period in March offered the state’s power sector some breathing space. But suddenly things have started to slip. The difference in storage between this year and last was gradually being bridged during the last one-and-a-half months but now the gap has started to widen. Water level in reservoirs, too, has come down to an alarming 25 percent. In the first week of March the inflow into the state's reservoirs had shown a dramatic increase. From below one million units, it has now gone up to 5 MU.
The difference in storage levels of dams between this and previous year, too, had begun to narrow considerably. Emboldened, power minister M.M. Mani had even ruled out power curbs before June. The increase in inflow had allowed KSEBL to increase hydel production, therefore reducing its dependence on power purchase from outside. Now, things have turned for the worse. The inflow has shrunk from 5 MU to 2.5 MU, and is decreasing. The difference in reservoir level between this year and last, too, has started to swell once again. What was 700 MU during the first week of January had gradually reduced to below 400 MU by the last week of March. Now, the difference has begun to inflate beyond the 400 MU mark.
During January and February, and also for the first half of March, daily hydel generation was kept below 10 MU, at times even as low as 4 MU. When summer rains escalated, daily hydel generation was raised to 15 MU. Now, the reservoir level has depleted but KSEBL has no choice but to keep hydel generation at a high of 20 MU. There has been a 453 percent excess rainfall in Idukki between March 1 and 15 but now the rains have dried up and the excess rainfall has come down to below 90 percent. Result: reservoir levels are falling precipitously. According to a top KSEBL official, the utility will have to go for distress purchase, pushing up its costs considerably.