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Election over, power cut rages in state

Bhubaneswar, April 29: Election is over in the state and unscheduled power cuts have returned to make life miserable for residents who are already reeling from a gruelling summer with temperature hovering above 40C in many pockets, including the city.

Though the state government asserts that there are no power cuts, reports pouring in from various parts of the state, especially from the rural areas, indicate that the power distribution companies are resorting to unscheduled power cuts.

Energy secretary P.K. Jena today said: “There are no power cuts. We are able to meet the daily power requirements. The water level in all reservoirs is full and have the capacity to generate 1,800MW at peak hours.” The state needs 3,800MW of power during peak hours and the requirement goes up to 4,200MW.

Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited official M.R. Mohanty said: “We are getting a major share of power from hydro-sector. The state is also getting its share from Talcher, IB thermal power stations and from the central sector through Eastern Region Electricity Boards.”

Today, the state’s power requirement is 3,151MW, it receives 3,159MW power from various sources. “There are no power cuts this time,” Mohanty quipped.

But, the ground reality is different. Many parts of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar are facing unscheduled power cuts for the past week.

The power cuts have begun soon after the state went through the second phase of polls on April 17.

An energy department official said the state had surplus power. But lack of power infrastructure — inadequate number of transformers, poor cabling and conductors to carry the power from the grid to the consumers — overload becomes a major issue. The loss of power during transmission could result in frequent power cuts.

“Another major problem is that people take power connection up to 1KW. But, they install more gadgets, including air-conditioners, which lead to load crisis,” said an official.

Chief of the Central Supply Electricity Utility, which supplies power in the coastal belt, including Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Sudarshan Nayak said: “Bhubaneswar requires 324MW power per day in the peak hour. But, the carrying capacity of our infrastructure is only 300MW. Our officials, when faced with crisis, do the load management by going for power cuts.”

Nayak said the overload during peak hours and intense heat had also aggravated the matter. They could lead to system breakdown. It could result in power cuts for a period between 15 and 30 minutes.

Nayak said once the authorities implemented the Rs 1,100-crore worth Capex (capital expenditure) and RAPDRP (restructured accelerated power development and reforms) programmes, there would be a visible change in the transmission of power system.

In Sambalpur, the scenario is worse. “On Saturday, we had to experience power failure of around 10 hours in our area,” said Santinagar resident Twinkle Panda.

General secretary of Nesco Shakti Karmachari Sangha said: “Though the company claims to have not gone for official power cuts, they resort to it for short duration in order to save power.”

Unscheduled power cuts becomes a routine affair in Berhampur. However, a Southco official said there was no deliberate power cuts now.

In a related development, the state government has decided to introduce a standard operating procedure by this June to meet natural calamities in the power sector. .

Chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra said the government was planning to document the lessons learnt from these exercises during calamities to evolve a more effective response mechanism against any such disaster challenge in future.


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