Power cuts return as infrastructure upgradation still incomplete

Power cuts return as infrastructure upgradation still incomplete
  • Unmetered areas to face 6-hour power cuts daily
  • Metered areas to face 3-hour cuts
  • PDD says power consumption increased to 1,600 MW

SRINAGAR: The government of India (GoI) schemes for providing uninterrupted power supply throughout the year have once again failed to achieve their goal in Kashmir, and the Valley is likely to face long power cuts this winter as well.
Metered areas will see electricity disappear for three hours each day, while unmetered areas will face six-hour power cuts.
Chief Engineer Power Development Department (PDD) Shahnaz Goni told Kashmir Reader that the Valley will face power cuts once again this season as the work on the schemes to provide uninterrupted supply was still going on.
She said PDD can afford 1,200 megawatts of power in winter while the demand was for 1,600 MWs. So, she added, PDD has started curtailment.
“As the winter season has begun, power consumption has increased in the Valley. This time also, due to reduced water levels, we are facing shortage of power. These two reasons add to the power woes, and we have to curtail the power supply,” Goni said. “I am not sure whether the shortage of power remains the same. As there will be more chill in coming months, we may have (to employ) more power cuts.”
Reasons for power cuts are mainly due to losses from the poor infrastructure that transmits and distributes it to households, and also from the pilferage. In Kashmir, the PDD has a consumer base of over 7.4 lakh households and a load agreement of around 650 MW for the evening hours. The GoI has started a number of schemes to arrest losses. However, the projects have not been completed.
Besides the scheduled power cuts, a number of areas are facing additional long power outages. Goni said these cuts are due to the upgradation work on the power station in these areas, done at the beginning of the winter season. The problem will continue till the second week of November.
“Kashmir has a harsh winter. The department tries to fix glitches ahead of winter so that the people have uninterrupted power supply, that is why the power cuts,” she added.
To prevent further power cuts, she appealed to the consumers to make judicious use of electricity. “We have seen that power theft and use of heaters and boilers by consumers cause overloading. People should use electricity judiciously,” the chief engineer said and added that the department cannot send an inspection squad to every household. “People must understand the judicious use of power.”