Puneites have to face longest-ever power cuts from TuesdayNews — By The Desk on September 2, 2008 at 10:44 AM
Times of India, Pune: The longest-ever power cuts are in store for Puneites as the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has pushed the load-shedding schedule to between 5.45 hours and 7.15 hours from Tuesday, with only a one-hour relief through additional power sourced from the Indian energy exchange. This also includes a 34-hour power shutdown for industry.
Most areas in the city will have to go without power for close to seven hours.
The move has elicited sharp reaction from the industrial sector and activists.
According to the new load-shedding schedule, the MSEDCL has sought 308 MW to keep Pune free from power cuts as against 238 MW, which was being quoted till last week.
The figure has changed consistently from 150 MW in April to 165 MW in June, 200 MW to 225 MW in July-August to 238 MW quoted in the last week of August.
The power shortfall for the state is being quoted at 4,500 to 4,800 MW, which should have been managed with load-shedding of 2.45 hours to 3.45 hours as per the load-shedding protocol fixed by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Merc) in May this year based on the shortfall figure of 4500 MW.
Reacting sharply to the 34-hour power shutdown for industry, Pradeep Bhargava, chairman, Maharashtra council of CII, said industry will not be able to function like this. “There are many issues involved here, right from economics, labour relations, compensation and management of working. We need some answers for the frequent changes and explanation for why the situation cannot be managed within the load-shedding protocol fixed by Merc”, he told TOI.
He said the protocol was fixed on the basis of statistics and estimates supplied by the MSEDCL in May this year. “The citizens of Maharashtra need to know how many million units are required for the state, how many are available, the gap and how many hours of load-shedding have to be effected,” he said.
Bhargava said that besides MSEDCL, the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd (MSPGCL) also needs to give some facts and figures about how much they were supposed to generate and how much they were actually generating.
Shantanu Dixit of city-based Prayas energy group said activists will demand an emergency Merc hearing on the load-shedding issue. “The MSEDCL has not been able to follow Merc’s load-shedding protocol and it has not yet submitted the additional data asked by Merc last month to substantiate the long load-shedding hours. In fact, the sanctity of Merc proceedings is not being maintained.”
Dixit said the MSEDCL just increases the load-shedding hours and there is no transparency. “We need to know from where the demand is increasing to warrant such measures and we feel that the MSPGCL should also be made accountable,” he added.