Freshly introduced day-time curbs on power supply will extend for five more days, according to Kerala State Electricity Board. The board had initially said that the curbs would be valid for two days, which have since passed.
But it is worried that even these curbs, along with cyclical load-shedding, should have failed to make any impression on consumption.
Daily usage continues to hover in the region of the newly-scaled peak of 60 million units even after the curbs imposed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. became effective, the board observed.
This is despite its newly launched participatory programme for energy conservation titled ‘Labhaprabha’ to which people are waking up.
The campaign was launched on March 23 to help fight the ‘twin evils’ of power shortage and soaring consumption.
The project has two components: one, based on weekly meter readings, consumers stand to win prizes worth Rs 2 crore by reducing consumption.
Two, residents associations which reduce their consumption by at least 10 per cent stand to get selectively exempted from daily load shedding schedule. The campaign closes on May 31.
Meanwhile, what has aggravated the already precarious power availability position is the significant reduction of 300 MW in supplies from the Central pool.
This is blamed largely on the coal shortage and resultant wind-down in generation at the Talcher plant in Odisha. A few others too have been shut down for repair and maintenance.
Within the State, generation has been halted at the BSES plant at Kochi due to fuel shortage. Per unit coast quoted by others is as high as Rs 12.
The board has drastically cut down generation from the Moolamattom power house associated with the Idukki project, the largest hydro-electric project in the State.
This came about after water level in the reservoir, again the largest, plumbed to new lows due to lack of meaningful right through the northeast monsoon and ensuing winter season.
Water level in the Idukki reservoir as obtaining lately can at best support generation for three weeks more, the board said.
Worryingly, that would still leave another 34 days before the normal date of monsoon, only which can make any material difference to the hydel power generation scenario.
At the current rate of consumption, the board would be required to make available 3,300 million units until June 1. But Idukki would not be able to offer more than 378.8 million units.
Water level at Idukki was 2311.6 feet on Saturday, lower by 19.10 feet than the same day a year ago. It had reduced by 0.22 feet overnight, a pace set to continue unless altered by intervening rain.
Given the high demand, the board has ramped up generation at Sabarigi hydel project, the second largest, to the maximum.