Stop Publicity Stunts; Confess Failure; Let People Play Their Part in Power Sector Again

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ever since Biju Patnaik in his last term as Chief Minister decided to kill the people’s stake in power sector and took steps to destroy the Orissa State Electricity Board to execute a dastardly scam by handing over Orissa’s electricity world to foreign firms like AES and Price Water House, which eventually has helped Indian mafia to grab the field to use as their grazing ground, this state of surplus electricity has continuously been dragged into the labyrinth of power shortage. In his son’s regime, the situation has taken a turn towards the worse as during the last decade not a single unit production capacity has been added to the generation network.

We have exposed the malady in details in these pages that have attracted massive attention. So instead of repeating how the administration has erred, this essay would like to react to the false propaganda the administration has started to make about tackling the unbearable shortage through power banking.

Mainstream Print media, The Samaj, in a report from Tathya source datelined April 16, has given front page publicity to a propaganda that Orissa has overcome massive power-cut situation because of GRIDCO chief C.J.Venugopal’s timely step to draw 300 MW through power banking out of which 200 MW power is being readily drawn and the rest 100 MW would soon be drawn. The said news item has gone up to saying that because of this intelligent step, when the current rate of energy is 8 to 10.5 INR in the market, Orissa is getting it in quite a lesser rate. Falsity of the later claim having been dealt with along with data in these pages earlier, we deem it proper to examine the post-power-banking power scenario for the period from April 1 to April 15, the date of generation of the propaganda through Tathya to see whether or not the energy managers have told the truth.

We have taken the input from eminent electrical engineers and power advisors who in the past and at the moment have been active in and are privy to energy administration

Our investigation reveals that the requirement of energy in Orissa as per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is 21112 MU in 2009-10 which in the last year, i.e. in 2008-09 was 20519 MU. Against this requirement, availability of energy last year was 20214 MU where as this year it is 20926 MU. On the other hand, last year there was an average demand of 3062 MW which was met with 2987 MW. This year the Demand is 3491 MW, but it is to be met with 2700 MW in the maximum. This difference between demand and supply is devastating to consumers.

If the Government through Venugopal wants us to believe that draw of 300 MW through power banking meets the demand, then it must be meaning the last year’s demand, not of the current year. Obviously our power sector is being managed by persons who it seems are experts in misleading.

However, the reality of availability through power banking as propagated is 200 MW with effect from April 1. Hence taking 31 March 2010 as the Benchmark Day (BD), let us see how Orissa has benefited from power banking. The data we shall use is based on SLDC data available in the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) website.

By virtue of power banking, Orissa received from the Power Trading Corporation India (PTC) and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL) 140 MW on April 1, out of which Orissa lost 50 MW share from Farakka STPS; thus the net receipt was 90 MW, not 200MW as claimed.

When on the BD. i.e. 31 March 2010, the average demand was 2125 MW; rise of mercury enhanced the demand to 2189 MW on April 1, causing an increase of 64 MW in demand. Hence, the benefit after power banking was a meager 26 MW even though the draw on papers was 140 MW that day. This is the reality.

Let us see the pictures of the next days till April 15.

April 2: As heat increased, demand increased to 2215 MW which was 90 MW higher than that of the BD. So the net receipt of 90 MW from Banking was of no surplus value.

April 3: Average demand was 2202MW showing increase of 77 MW from BD setting the benefit at meager 13 MW.

April 4: This day being a Sunday, the demand was a bit less, 2142 MW which was 17 MW higher than that of the BD. Hence on this day the benefit was 73 MW.

But since this day, everyday the power banking benefit has stayed far behind the need as the data below would show.

April 5: The demand was 2264, registering an increase of 139 MW from the BD. As against the net receipt of 90 MW, shortfall was 49 MW.

April 6: The demand was 2255 MW which was higher to demand of the BD by 130 MW. Thus the banking was deficit by 40 MW.

April 7: This day Orissa received 90 MW through power banking as indicated above; but lost 50 MW share from Farakka STPS, thus drawing only 40 MW. When demand was 2270 indicating an increase of 145 MW in demand than that of the BD, it is clear that the power banking was inadequate to address the demand by 105 MW.

April 8: Demand was 2227 MW which was higher to BD demand by 152 MW. Thus the banking marked a deficit of 112 MW.

April 9: Demand was 2218 MW showing an increase of 93 MW that indicated 53MW in minus.

April 10: Demand was 2236 MW, higher to BD demand by 111 MW. Thus the deficit was 71 MW.

April 11: Demand was 2214 MW. This being 89 MW more than the BD demand, the banking benefit was deficient by 49 MW.

April 12: Demand was 2202 MW, which was more than the BD demand by 77 MW. But the net receipt being 40MW, the benefit shorter by 37 MW.

April 13: Demand was 2237 MW showing an increase of 112 MW from BD demand. Thus the deficit was 72 MW.

April 14: Demand was 2266 MW which was higher than BD demand by 141 MW setting the deficit at 101 MW.

April 15: The demand was 2246 MW, indicating an increase of 121 MW from that of BD. This meant that there was a deficit of 81 MW on that day.

When the data above establish that the Tathya news carried by The Samaj is contrary to actual, it is also established that the private Companies, hand-in-glove with Nabin Patnaik government, have contravened OERC directions and have been harassing the consumers by adopting unfair means like unauthorized power-cuts and undeclared brownouts to cover up the deficits.

According to a well-known referral expert in power sector, NVVNL has further reduced from 16 April.2010 a quantum of 25 MW towards supply to Orissa. Hence receipt of Orissa through Power Banking is only 70 MW and after accounting for loss of 50 MW share from Farraka STPS, the net receipt of Orissa is only 20 MW at present, which is only one-tenth of the publicized 200 MW.

When Orissa is sizzling with higher temperature in 80% of its geographical area this summer, false propaganda about efficient power management is most hazardous and harmful. It is a grave offense against the people.

It is better the authorities desist from trading lies and tell the truth. Chief minister Navin Patnaik should confess his failure in removing the chaos in power sector and allow people to take a fresh decision on quality of his administration. It is time to think afresh and to restore people’s right to play their part in the power sector. The so-called reform having totally failed, Biju should be censored posthumously and GRIDCO must no more be the place of false propagandists’ pleasure hunt.

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