SRINAGAR: The onset of spring in Kashmir has brought with it increased hours of electricity, after more than five months of long unscheduled power cuts and miserly rationing of electricity.
A top official in the Power Development Department (PDD), speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Kashmir Reader that the department has reduced curtailments in supply, and also begun working on stopping unscheduled cuts, a target that will be achieved by April.
In the winter season, the PDD had adopted the same old traditional way of power curtailment and unscheduled power cuts. This year, electricity disappeared for more than three hours daily in metered areas, and for six hours in unmetered areas, as scheduled by the department itself.
“During winter, due to the heavy use of electricity, there were curtailments. On average we had more than 100MW of extra load,” the official said. “Now this has reduced and there are very less curtailments.”
The long power cuts in winter are mainly due to the poor infrastructure of transmission and distribution of power, and also pilferage. The PDD could not buy additional power due to its limited transmission capacity. The peak power demand in winter is 1,700 megawatts (MW), but the state can afford only 1,200 MW from all its resources. 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 Government of India has started a number of schemes to reduce transmission losses. However, the projects for developing distribution and transmission infrastructure have either not started or are not complete yet.
“The situation is the same. No development has taken place since the winter began except some agreements on infrastructure projects,” the official said. “At this pace of work, the situation will remain the same in the next winter also,” he added.