The state-run power trader Gridco has blamed lower hydro power generation for the widening power deficit even as large number of people, particularly in rural areas, reel under unscheduled power cuts amidst soaring temperature at different places in the state.
“Power demand has gone up this summer compared to previous years. The average demand is between 2,700 to 2,800 MW currently in the state, which is much higher than OERC (Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission) approval of 2,635 MW,” said P K Pradhan, commercial director with Gridco.
“Meanwhile, the combined hydro power generation from all the units stands at around 210 MW these days, which is half of what we used to produce couple of years ago. All the hydro power units are operating with minimum water levels at their respective reservoirs,” he added.
Even though hydro power generation does not contribute significantly to meet the state’s power demand, cash-strapped Gridco depends on it heavily due to its low cost and easier availability.
Currently, Gridco draws about 2,600 MW power from various hydro and thermal power stations and captive power generators within the state and from its share out of the Central government sponsored power projects outside the state. However, its thermal power supply recently received a jolt, with Sterlite Energy halting production due to technical glitch and National Thermal Power Corporation's (NTPC) Farakka plant shutting down units because of coal crisis.
Sterlite was supplying 350 MW, and Gridco was getting 65 MW from NTPC Farakka units as its share.
“Sterlite problem is a temporary one and it will take another three days to restore production. Meanwhile, we have asked Vedanta Alumina's captive generating unit to provide 100 Mw from on Friday till the end of this crisis,” said Pradhan.
Gridco has also bought 420 Mw from the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) to be supplied on Saturday for four hours. Besides, Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) and Nav Bharat steel plant have agreed to provide 30 MW and 20 MW power respectively to the state grid from their captive plants.
Pradhan said Gridco has requested extra high tension (EHT) industries to regulative their consumption for the time being.
Orissa 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 provide 200 MW energy for a month, which ended on May 1.