The collapse of three power grids in northern and eastern India has aggravated the already grim power situation in Kerala. As much as 750 MW of power out of 900 MW drawn daily from the Central grid will be unavailable to the State from today.

The situation has reached such a stage that KSEB is planning a cyclical load shedding for 30 minutes from today, a senior Board source told Business Line.

He said that at present the State is getting only 150 MW of power from Karnataka and that may also be unavailable when the peak hour demand there increased.

Sources said restoration of supply would take about two days. “Over-dependence on outside sources has put the State in serious crisis,” they alleged.

According to them, shelving of several thermal and hydel projects in the State has landed Kerala in this predicament.

Implementation of both hydel and thermal projects has been facing serious opposition from various quarters, they said.

Ever-increasing demand for power without corresponding expansion in hydel power generation capacity in Kerala is gradually pushing up the State's dependence on thermal power with the ratio to touch 70:30 in the very near future, senior sources in the Board said.

The current daily power consumption is at around 55 million units (mus). “Demand has increased not only during peak hours but also during the normal lean period,” they said.

This year the southwest monsoon has eluded the State and consequently, water storage levels in all the reservoirs are at much lower levels reducing the daily generation to around 12 million units daily from the normal 20-22 million units.

The balance requirements are met by supplies (normally 24 mus) from the Central grid and purchases from open market.

This year the situation has changed totally, hydel generation has to be reduced to almost half for some time now. At the same time, availability from the Central grid is going to be zero at least for a couple of days.

“It is a lesson for the State. A similar situation should be expected in coming years as well. The government should, therefore, think of setting up cheap fuel-based thermal power plants. But, it warrants a political will,” a retired chief engineer said.

(This article was published on July 31, 2012)
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