Drought has drastically affected the state’s, primarily hydel, power generation capacities

Already weary of the power cuts Bengalureans the worst is yet to comePTI/ Representational image
news Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 17:59

Bengaluru along with the whole state of Karnataka is likely to face its worst summer in terms of water and power shortage in the last 25 years.

At the start of summer, the city is already witnessing frequent power cuts for at least two hours every day.

To make matters worse, a Times of India article published on Thursday said power generation slumped to less than 50 per cent of the installed capacity on an average.

In August 2015, the state government admitted that 136 talukas of the state were suffering from drought.  

The drought does not only indicate an acute shortage of water for drinking and irrigation, but also a shortage of power as most (70 per cent) of the state’s power demand is met by hydel power plants.

Malfunctions in some units of some hydel power plants last year caused some parts of the city to lose power for as much as four hours a day.

The situation was far worse in semi urban and rural areas with some areas suffering from 12 hours of outage on a daily basis.

The extent of the power problems can be gauged from the fact that a Business Standard article said that more than half of the total emergency lamps sold on the ecommerce platform Flipkart last year was sold to Karnataka residents.

Currently, the state has a deficit of 2600 MW of power on a daily basis, even as the mercury climbs ever higher.

On March 1, a small time trader from Sullia near Mangalore was almost sent to jail by Karnataka Power Minister DK Shivakumar for his rant about irregular electricity supply.

All of this comes after the Energy Minister said on December 30, 2015, “By January, I will ensure there will be no power cut.”

Meanwhile, although the state is no stranger to poor monsoons, the government seems to repeatedly be caught by surprise when it’s power generation capabilities suffer in the summer, as can be seen from a selection of Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar’s statements.

In July 2014, with water lever in the hydel power reservoirs falling to below 50 percent, he said, “God alone can save the state” from a power crisis.

In September 2015, Shivakumar said, "We are facing this situation after 25 years. We did not anticipate such a shortfall so we did not plan for this much.”

On December 30, 2015, he promised that the state would get uninterrupted power from the start of the new year. “By January, I will ensure there will be no power cut," the minister added.

On February 22, 2016, at a cabinet meeting, the minister admitted that the situation has gone out of hand and the state cannot buy power from the central grid due to issues of availability of corridors for transmission of power.


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