Hydro power production in the state may go up to 340 Mw from January 2012, up from 240 Mw generated currently, as the government has committed the power generators to draw more water from reservoirs.
“From January next year, we will be getting more share of water compared to the present situation,” said P K Pradhan, director, commercial, Grid Corporation of Orissa (Gridco), the sole purchaser of bulk power in the state.
The state government had directed major water reservoirs in the south-west part of the state to prioritize rabi crop irrigation at the cost of power production as the region did not receive much rain during the monsoon. Currently, water levels in the top power producing reservoirs are about a third of total amount required to produce power.
The government emphasised upon rabi crop irrigation as farm output suffered after back-to-back floods in September. The power provider believes since most of the rabi sowing will be completed by January, government would order to release water for power generation.
Total power production in the state had slipped to 1,650 Mw level in November from average requirement of 2,700 Mw due to technical glitch in thermal power stations amid lesser water availability for hydro power, prompting all distributing companies in the state to declare power cuts.
Even though Gridco hopes to get 100 Mw more from hydro power and 100 Mw more from Jindal Power and Steel Ltd by end of the month, total availability will be still 250 Mw lower than average requirement. “Recently NTPC Kaniha unit started production but generation at its Kahalgaon unit dropped due to some problem which resulted in 50 Mw less power supply from Central pool. We are not sure when power cuts will stop completely, but the duration of power cut may come down from next year,” Pradhan said.
The state has taken a series of state to tackle power crisis by restricting private producers not to sell outside state, arranging loan facility for Gridco, and buying power from energy exchange.
Still, Gridco will have to depend upon cheaper hydro power due to huge debts on its balance sheet, said sources.