Srinagar: The power scenario in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to worsen as the State Government has failed to put in place adequate infrastructure to bridge the gap between supply and demand.
Officials say the peak demand in January is likely to reach 3000 MW as J&K witnessed an 11 percent increase in peak demand in this October compared to October 2016.
“In January, the peak demand is always 8 percent more than October. Since, we witnessed increase of 11 percent in peak demand this October, it is obvious in January we will face shortfall of 800 MW,” a senior official of the Power Development Department (PDD) told the ‘Kashmir Vision’.
He said the power scenario would not change in the next one year as the government has failed to put in place required infrastructure and instead shifted the blame on thefts by people.
“Government needs an out of box thinking to come out of the crisis,” he said.
Authorities in power department have already threatened people of more power cuts as the winter advances.
Chief Engineer, Power Development Department Kashmir Shahnaz Goni says that the curtailment schedule in Kashmir this year is about to get shriller if the electricity demand increases.
“In coming months, if there is ruthless use of power by the people, the department will have no option but to pro-long the curtailments,” Goni said.
The power requirement in the State is met from the generation from allocated share from central generating stations, State’s own power plants and power purchased from the market.
She says the peak demand of J&K during the current year (April to October, 2017) was 2,768 MW and the demand met was 2214 MW, thus, leaving a shortfall of around 554 MW.
At present, around 70 percent of the energy requirement is being met from Central Generating Stations in the State.
People have criticized the PDD for threatening the people to face more power cuts when the consumption in J&K is lowest as compared to other states of India.
“Please don’t forget, J&K’s per capita power consumption is one of the lowest – just 968 kWh,” said power sector expert, Arjumand Hussain Talib.
Talib said the neighbouring states of Punjab consume 1663 kWh per capita, Haryana 1491 kWh, Himachal 1145 kWh and Delhi 1448 kWh. In Gujarat it is 1558 kWh.
Talib says J&K’s total power consumption is divided by the state’s population and does not include other non-state and non-civilian populations like Army and other paramilitary forces.
“If we add these non-state and non-civilian populations in J&K, the per capita power consumption would be one of the lowest in the world,” he said.
In view of increase in power demand in the State during winter, the union power ministry on November 16 issued a statement that it has allocated 74 percent power—792 MW of 1071 MW—from unallocated power pool of the northern region to the state. This allocation, the statement said, was made from unallocated power share of 15 percent to 20 percent that remains with the union government.
Officials say the state’s power demand is more than 2700 MW while as the Power department doesn’t have enough infrastructure to transmit and distribute more than 1900 MW.
“Lack of infrastructure forces the department to go for prolonged and unscheduled cuts,” they said.