Kerala to go for power holidays

Thursday, 10 January 2013 09:57 Harikumar B
Power HolidayKerala will have a day-long power holiday on a monthly basis starting January 15. The monthly power holiday will go on till May, said the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) on January 09,2013. This is for the first time that the state will have to undergo a day-long power holiday.

 However, the KSEB does not want to term it as 'power holiday' as in other states, but explains that all the sub-stations under the board will remain closed for a day in a month for maintenance works. There will be no power supply from 9 am till 4 pm. There will not be a closure of all sub-stations on one day, but each station will have holiday on separate days, without affecting the supply in all the sub-stations. The board informed that a time schedule for this will be prepared soon.

The decision is against the backdrop of acute power shortage facing the state for the last six months due to monsoon failure. Power minister Aryadan Mohmmed said since the dams in the state had water storage for generating electricity for 30 days, the board was trying to cap the consumption through the closure of sub-stations to avoid a critical situation. Earlier, the board had introduced load shedding of 30 minutes each during day and night and power cut up to 25 per cent for industrial units. The board expects that the closure of sub-stations would reduce consumption to a great extent. Maintenance work will also reduce the heavy distribution loss.

According to the KSEB, the Idukki reservoir -- largest in the state- had a water level of 2,327.5 feet on Tuesday, lower by 47.2 feet on the same day last year. This is also the case with other major dams.

The minister said the state required around 2,300 Mw during day and 2,900 Mw during the peak evening hours. KSEB had been meeting this demand from power stations within the state and also from central power stations outside the state.

Kerala is eligible for 1,134 Mw from the central stations located in places such as Ramagundam, Thalcher, and Neyveli. But the average availability from these stations comes to around 970 Mw due to various reasons. According to projections, the state's requirement would rise to 6,300 MW by 2020.

The situation has worsened due to the overpower generation during last monsoon, releasing more water from the Idukki dam. This was in view of the serious apprehensions over the safety of Mullperiyar dam in Idukki district. the KSEB had reduced the water level in the Idukki dam during the monsoon to the maximum possible. But the monsoon disappointed Kerala.

Aryadan said they were planning tide over the crisis by buying electricity at higher rates from other states and from the open market. But the major hurdle was absence of lines to bring the power from the neighbouring states. This will also affect the financial performance of the board as it incurs a monthly loss of Rs 150 crore. The government had enhanced the power tariff twice during last the 12 months and the board had hinted at another round of rate hike. However, the state Electricity Regulatory Commission is not in favour of this. It is now seeking permission to hike the charges of those household consumers who use above 200 units per month.

Source- Business Standard