Opinion Op Ed 28 Feb 2016 Energy crisis: Benga ...

Energy crisis: Bengaluru to feel the heat this summer

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | M G PRABHAKAR
Published Feb 28, 2016, 3:24 am IST
Updated Feb 28, 2016, 3:24 am IST
The Sharavathi fire incident has resulted in shortage of over 1,053 MW.
‘There is no easy way to solve the present energy problem either as there are no corridors to purchase power from other states in the absence of transmission lines’ (Representational image)
 ‘There is no easy way to solve the present energy problem either as there are no corridors to purchase power from other states in the absence of transmission lines’ (Representational image)

With the energy crisis looming large, the state is likely to feel the heat more than usual this summer. Meanwhile, even as Karnataka is short of over 3,000 MW power for various reasons, the ESCOMS are keen on a power tariff revision. Being already burdened with irregular power supply, this move could anger the people even more.

According to an estimation, the state’s power demand could cross 12,000 MWs in April and May, but it may not find it easy to meet it. For one, the Sharavathi fire incident has resulted in shortage of over 1,053 MW. No one can be blamed for this as it was an accident.

 

But in addition there is disturbing news from the Raichur Thermal Power Station where power production has stopped in a couple of the reactors due to water shortage, which is expected to continue in the coming months. It does seem like the state’s energy crisis is set to only escalate in days to come as a result.

The government may try to promote Karnataka as the ideal destination for investment and industries at various events, but it is really a gamble to invest here owing to the looming power crisis.

There is no easy way to solve the present energy problem either as there are no corridors to purchase power from other states in the absence of transmission lines. The only thing the government can do is invoke section 11 under which all private power producers in a state are obliged to sell the power generated to state agencies and not to anyone outside Karnataka. Industries can buy power directly from private producers and so don’t need to bother about the state policy on load shedding and so on. Also, industries which need more than 1 MW of power are expected to avoid the heat of power tariff revision by buying cheap power in the open market which can be used through open access system.

 

One of the major reasons for the big gap between the revenue and expenditure of the Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) is that the state government has not yet released more than `500 crore in additional subsidy. HT consumers cannot be burdened even more as they are the ones who are bearing the cross subsidy amount even now. These issues need to be addressed before revising the power tariff.

With very few options before it  the state government and all the ESCOMS need to do some thing extraordinary to solve the present energy crisis.

 

It is the high time the state government and concerned agencies came out with a concrete action plan to ensure proper power supply to industries and domestic consumers alike.

In the absence of such a contingency plan, the power situation will only worsen in days to come.
(The writer is chairman, Energy Commission, FKCCI)

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Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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