Punjab, Haryana and union territory Chandigarh are facing severe power cuts this summer season, due to "unprecedented" rise in demand for energy and absence of pre-monsoon showers.
In the wake of sudden increase in demand for power due to hot weather conditions prevailing in North India, Punjab and Haryana are facing demand-supply gap to the tune of 700 MW and 400 MW, respectively.
"We have seen unprecedented rise in demand for power this summer season. Total demand for power has touched the 9,400 MW (2,150 lakh units per day) and most significantly it has been consistent because of scorching heat," Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd Director (Distribution) Arun Verma told PTI today.
He blamed Northern Regional Load Dispatch Centre for not allowing required amount of power transmission to the state, which deepened the power crisis.
Farming is another most affected sector because of load shedding, as paddy growers are complaining of not getting promised eight hours of power supply for crop sowing in kharif season.
"If showers lash at this time, the power situation will certainly ease," Verma said.
Haryana Power Secretary Ajit Mohan Sharan said the state is facing power deficit of 300-400 MW against 6,000 MW being supplied to all the sectors.
Despite power utilities' claims that the scheduled power cuts are 2-4 hours per day, residents of Punjab and Haryana have been facing 3-10 hours of power cut every day.
In Punjab, two-day weekly off has been imposed on high power consuming industries, including furnaces.
This year, Chandigarh which is known for uninterrupted power supply, has also seen load shedding of 3-5 hours, particularly in southern sector due to rising demand.
The plans for both Punjab and Haryana giving continuous supply have also gone awry as total demand for power crossed 20% in June this year against expectations of between 10-12%, official sources said here.
Problems for power utilities have also been aggravated by temporary closure of thermal power plants in Punjab and Haryana.
While two units of Bathinda power plant of 110 MW each have been shut down for maintenance in Punjab, 300-MW Yamunanagar and 600-MW Hisar plant have not been generating power in in Haryana.
Industry complained that they have been forced to run their units on diesel run generators because of long-hours power cuts.
"We are not getting power supply for 10-12 hours in a day and that is why we are running our industry on generators, which is adding to our cost," a Panchkula-based industrialist said.