Kashmir is facing the worst power outages in the spring season this time as the electricity continues to play hide and seek much to the dismay of consumers amid the Ramadhan.
Normally from March onwards, the power supply in Kashmir used to improve considerably in comparison to harsh weather months, however, this time the situation is different as in April there are more prolonged and unscheduled power cuts being reported across Kashmir.
This has infuriated the general populace who are facing prolonged power cuts mostly during Sehri and Iftaar time.
“For the past one week, I haven’t seen a single day when the power supply was on during morning and evening times, it is a collective punishment which is being met despite paying our bills on time,” said Ajaz Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.
The power cuts during the month of Ramadhan are contrary to the directions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir who during a recent review meeting directed the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited to ensure quality power supply during this holy month when Muslims keep fast.
The problem is further compounded in non-metered and rural areas.
“In winter we had a certain power curtailment schedule which the KPDCL officials would follow and we too were aware when there is power curtailment, but this time there is a different scenario that power supply is cut as per the sweet will of the KPDCL officials,” lamented Firdous Ahmad, a Pattan resident.
The situation in the old city of Srinagar is even worse where most of the areas are non-metered. As per locals power curtailment hours are more than the power supplied hours.
However, KPDCL officials have put up their hands and stated that the situation is not in their control.
“It is the National Grid where the problem lies, we get restricted supply and we have distributed it accordingly,” informed a senior KPDCL official.
Chief Engineer, Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL), Javid Yusuf said that it is not the problem in Kashmir alone, but across India. “It has nothing to due to Ramadhan, till 3 am our demand is 1000 MWs, which peaks to 1650 MWs at Sehri time, as a result of which we have resort to power curtailments. This year March has been the hottest in over 122 years, summer has set early, all India power demand is near 2 lakh MWs is near an all-time high record.”
The National Grid is the high-voltage electricity transmission network in India, connecting power stations and major substations and ensuring that electricity generated anywhere in India can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.
The National Grid is owned, and maintained by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India and operated by the state-owned Power System Operation Corporation.
Since the middle of March, the grid has routinely reported maximum loads above 195,000 MW, including a peak of 199,584 MW on April 8 – less than 0.5 percent below the record.
As Jammu and Kashmir receive the majority of the power supply from the National Grid, the peaking demand has left the UT with a limited power supply as local power generation is not enough to meet the demand.
Meanwhile, The power crisis in Kashmir could worsen in the coming weeks if the coal shortage persists throughout the country, officials from Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) said on Thursday.
Pertinently, the Valley is facing unscheduled power cuts during Ramazan, particularly at Sehri and Iftar time, leaving the consumers fuming.
Talking to Kashmir Post, an official said that the people should brace up for more power curtailments if the present crises find no solution.
“But I am hopeful, the Central Government might be looking for options as the present crisis has gripped the whole country,” the official, who insisted not to be named, told Kashmir Post.
Chief Engineer, KPDCL, Javid Yusuf Dar told Kashmir Post that there is a coal shortage across the country which has led to power crises.
The reason for the shortage of coal, according to the government, is the high prices of global coal due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and low imports.
Dar, however, told Kashmir Post that less rainfall is also the reason for the power shortage in the UT.
“There is a 70 percent rain deficit. Also, the Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project supplies around 450 MW and we get the supply from other projects which sums up to 900 MW’s but the demand is 1500 MW’s in the valley,” he said.
Dar further said that with more rainfall, the water in Chenab might rise and the department can provide more power supply.
He said the demand-supply during Sehri and Iftar time is 1500 MW’s but the department is only able to produce 1100 MW’s.
However, sources from KPDCL told that National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) is facing rising demand forcing KPDCL to resort to load shedding.
“Every 15 minutes we are being asked to reduce the load because of the low frequency. We are bound to follow the orders,” they said.
NLDC is entrusted with the responsibility to oversee voltage and frequency.
If the states/UT’s don’t follow the orders, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) can impose heavy penalties for violation of the Indian Electricity Grid Code (IEGC) provisions which require the constituents (State Utilities) to undertake manual load shedding for curtailing the overdrawn whenever the grid frequency goes below 49 hz.
Earlier, the government had directed the KPDCL to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to the people at Sehri and Iftari hours in the Valley. The regional political parties have cornered the LG administration for failing to provide an adequate power supply during the holy month of Ramazan.
Earlier, the central government said that over 12 states are facing electricity issues due to a shortage of coal and the government is working to mitigate the shortfall.