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Discoms slash power-cut duration as hydro output rises

Read more on:    Discom | Gridco | Wesco | Nesco | Ntpc | Pgcil | P K Pradhan
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With the hydro power generation in the state stepped up following improvement in the water level of different reservoirs on the back of late monsoon rains, the power distribution companies (discom) have slashed load shedding hours from this week.

This follows a recent meeting of officials of state energy department, bulk power trader and discoms, in which it was decided to reduce power cut duration.

“It has been decided that there will be no power cut in the evening in all 30 district head quarter towns and total power cut duration will be reduced to one hour instead of three hours earlier,” , commercial director with Gridco said.

Though the government has not issued any written orders for trimming power-cut period, it has decided to reduce the load shedding time in rural areas too.

“The situation is not as bad as it was couple of months ago. Power-cut durations will also come down in rural areas depending upon energy availability,” said an official of Central Service Office, that coordinates three discoms—Wesco, and Southco.

Due to heavy monsoon rains in western and southern areas, where all key hydro power plants are situated, the output has almost doubled in past few days.

Currently, the hydro power output is above 800 Mw from all seven power plants in the state, up from 510 Mw achieved a week ago and much higher than 210 Mw generated two months ago.

Last week, the state government had to alert flood-prone district authorities in westerns and south Odisha, where river levels were rising alarmingly. Though the river water level have been falling since then, ample rainfall in the river catchment areas has left enough water in reservoirs for comfortable hydro power generations, officials said.

“All key reservoirs have enough water build-up during the past few days. We have sufficient water to produce 700 to 800 Mw power till end of September,” Pradhan said.

However, the jump in hydro power generation did not mean surplus power availability as it compensated production loss from thermal power plants. Currently, total power availability from thermal resources is below 2,000 Mw, much lower than 2,400 Mw produced in June.

Disruption in coal supply amid higher water content in steam coal in the monsoon season has hit the thermal power output. The availability from National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) units situated at Talcher, which provides about 800 Mw to the state out of its share, was main cause of drop in availability, as supplies were reduced to 550 Mw.

Odisha has been grappling with power shortages since November 2011. To meet the summer power need of the state, Gridco had finalised agreements with Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) to draw 200 MW via power banking, which ended on May 1. In return, it had agreed to return the power with 5 per cent interest during August-September, betting on surplus hydro power generation in monsoon months.

Odisha has started returning 105 Mw energy to since August 1, which will be provided for next three months as per the agreement, the Gridco official said.

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