| An earthen lamp comes in handy for a groundnut seller at Plaza Chowk in Ranchi on Sunday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, Sept. 2: Nearly half of Jharkhand woke up to a sweaty Sunday, with power cuts in 14 out of 24 districts since this morning after a unit at Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd (TVNL) failed, hitting the command areas of the state electricity board.
The humidity count in the state capital, one of the districts that bore the brunt, stood at a torrid 86 per cent.
One TVNL unit had been shut down for repairs of mechanical and electrical faults a week ago. Early this morning, the second unit at TVNL too was forced shut down due to technical snags. The unit was contributing an average of 200MW, TVNL general manager Ramavtar Sahu told The Telegraph over the phone from Lalpania in Bokaro district.
One unit is expected to be lit up today, after which it will be synchronised into the state grid by tonight.
The other unit at TVNL would be lit up tomorrow, Sahu added.
Figures released by the Eastern Load Despatch Centre revealed that against an average demand of 850MW plus, total generation in the state was confined to 190MW from three units located at Patratu Thermal in Ramgarh district.
It being a Sunday and with most shops and business establishments remaining closed, the peak time demand was restricted to 850MW.
Power officials revealed that to bridge the gap between demand and supplies, Jharkhand State Electricity Board drew around 350MW from the central pool.
However, faced with an uncovered deficit of over 300MW, the power utility was left with no option but to order blanket blackouts throughout its command areas spread over Ranchi, West Singhbhum, parts of East Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Gumla, Lohardaga, Khunti, Simdega, Chatra, Latehar, Koderma, Palamau, Giridih and Deoghar districts.
In Ranchi, grid officials revealed that till late in the afternoon, blackouts were ordered in all residential areas of the city in phases.
However, respite was provided after the Sikidiri hydel power plant began to generate around 100MW since the afternoon with the entire power earmarked for Ranchi city alone.
Across the districts, however, residents complained that they were provided power for not more than four to five hours, that too in instalments.
In Gumla, residents complained that power supplies were switched off just after last midnight.
Supplies were restored around 11am though it was not of much use as the power lines tripped frequently, complained B. Sharma, a resident of the district.
In Lohardaga, residents complained that drinking water supplies remained disrupted throughout the day as pumping stations failed to pump water to the overhead tanks for want of power. Residents of Khunti lamented that power availability did not exceed four hours during the daytime.
Similarly, residents in Latehar, Palamau, Giridih and Garhwa districts also complained that they were provided not more than five hours of power since midnight, in instalments.