POWER CUT A MUST IF GOVERNMENT FAILS TO WAKE UP

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

True, till date Orissa is trading surplus power through licensed power traders like Power Trading Corporation of India Ltd (PTCL) and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL), howsoever small be the quantity.

But the scenario will soon change and power cut would be an unavoidable must from next year. I have hinted out, how by the end of this decade, we will fall a prey to power famine, if, without prioritizing power generation, the current idiocy of distribution of mines to private industries, which, when set up, would sure need mega consumption of power, continues. I have also shown in that article, based on official calculation, how 3394MW of power would be necessary to energize 46000 villages of Orissa under Natioal Rural Electrification Policies by 2009 over and above the 4391MW minimum projected need of Industries.

The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission, empowered under Section 86(20(IV) of Electricity Act, 2003 to advise the State Government on urgent issues concerning generation, transmission, distribution and trading of electricity, had warned the State Government of serious dislocation in power sector unless timely actions are taken.

In D.O. letter No.CHP/2005/812 of May 20, 2005 addressed to R. N. Bohidar, Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Principal Secretary to Government in the department of Energy, D.C.Sahoo, Chairman of the Commission, had noted, From the analysis of power projections, it is revealed that from 2007-08 onwards, even with good monsoon and full hydro availability, the state will face deficit in power supply unless additional capacity is generated to meet the demand. As you are aware, a green field project for thermal capacity addition will take about 4/5 years, whereas extension in existing power stations, where land and other infrastructural facilities are available, the time span may vary from 30 months to 36 months. We have barely three years left at our disposal to address the issue of new generation capacity addition.

Thus saying, the OERC Chairman had cautioned the Government that In the event of monsoon failure, the power availability will drastically go down leading to shortage of power triggering load shedding. There is every likelihood of redistribution of Central Sector power already allocated to the State/GRIDCO. Such an apprehension is borne out of the fact that a majority of States are plagued by huge deficit of power. The Government of India may reduce the allocation of power to our State and reallocate it to some of the power deficit States. This unwarranted measure, as and when comes through, needs to be resisted tooth and nail at the appropriate level, he had stressed.

Whether the Government that could not resist stealing away of the National Institute of Science by Bengalis from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata can resist diversion of power to other States at the time of need is a question the future may answer; but the OERC Chairman did not stop at this point. As the guardian of power management in Orissa, he suggested the following urgent steps to be taken to meet the critical situation as mentioned above.

Firstly he had advised To start construction of Unit 3 and 4 in Ib Valley power station area where land and infrastructural facilities are available. Secondly he had asked the Government to issue notice to M/s Kalinga Power Corporation, an IPP to start construction of the two 250MW units of their project at Duburi for which land and other facilities are available. Thirdly, the Government must Issue notice also to M/s AES who are supposed to construct Unit 5 & 6 as an IPP to take urgent steps in that regard, he had underlined. The OERC chiefs further advice was Urge upon CPPs like NALCO, ICCL, RSP etc to augment capacity on a time bound basis.

Emphasizing on implementation of Electricity Vision 2010 prepared by the State Government, the OERC Chairman had asked the Government to persuade and cajole the developers to commence construction activities in already identified areas like Hirma, Naraj as envisaged n Fuel Map of India / Draft Electricity Plan.

Focusing on inadequacy of transmission capacity and need to complete the ongoing projects, the OERC Chief had noted, The ongoing transmission projects financed through World Bank need to be completed on war footing basis to ensure steady power supply to various parts of the State. Observing that There is widespread interruption, low voltage, mainly in western part of the State, he had said that this was due to non-completion of 220 KV Bhubaneswar-Burla line, Burla-Bolangir 220 KV line including Sub-Stations. Besides, he had pointed out, Evacuation of power from Ib has been affected due to non-completion of 400 KV line from Ib to Meramundali. He had warned the Government that power supply to industries in Duburi will be seriously jeopardized unless the Meramundali-Duburi 400 KV line along with 400 KV sub-station at Duburi is completed soon. Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Khurda and Paradeep will also face power supply problem because of delay in completion of 400 KV sub-station works at Meramundali and Mendhasal and non-completion of Narendrapur-Chandaka 220 KV line and Duburi-Paradeep 220 KV line.

But the State has fallen in such hands, that the timely warning and advices of OERC went unheeded to.

If the Government fails to wake up, it is impossible to avoid power cuts.

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