Despite just 51 per cent availability of the installed generation capacity under various sources and a net shortfall of 5,269 Mw in supply, the Southern power grid has so far remained insulated from the contagion of grid failures being witnessed in the northern and eastern grids. The southern grid comprises Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
In addition, it also came to the rescue of the Northern grid by pumping in about 700 Mw, mostly to restart the power stations and stabilise the grid on Tuesday, officials of APTransco said.
In the wake of the second time failure in the Northern grid, the energy officials have heightened the vigil through constant monitoring and coordination with the southern region grid and power utilities in their counterpart states.
Among the southern states, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, are witnessing the highest shortfall in supply despite having the largest installed capacities compared with Karnataka and Kerala as most of the capacities in hydroelectric and gas power stations continue to remain idle. These two states have already been imposing power cuts on domestic and industrial consumers.
According to the Southern Region Load Dispatch Centre, which monitors the grid frequency and interstate drawls, on Monday, AP had the highest shortfall of 38.64 million units (mu) in day energy followed by 31.24 mu in Tamil Nadu, 15.86 mu in Karnataka, 1.10 mu in Kerala and 0.13 mu shortfall in Puducherry.
Under thermal, gas, hydro and other sources including state, central and private sector, the five southern states have an installed capacity of 53,142 Mw against which only 27,601 Mw of power is currently available. Among the large contributors of this capacity, hydro and gas-based power stations are providing least availability of power to the grid due to low inflows into the reservoirs and steep dip in natural gas supply.
According to K Ranganatham, joint managing director (distribution) of APTransco, there was a supply shortfall of 2,179 Mw in Tamil Nadu, 1,500 Mw in AP (the demand has come down due to widespread rains in the past few days), 750 Mw in Karnataka, 75 Mw in Kerala and 20 Mw in Puducherry. Better grid discipline is also helping the southern states from witnessing any grid failure, he said.
Against a total demand of 245 mu units, AP could meet around 210 mu yesterday. The state has a total installed capacity of 16,000 Mw while the availability of capacity is about 8,419 Mw, the officials said.
In Karnataka, the peak demand observed in 2011-12 (April-December 2011) was 7,711 Mw. The anticipated peak demand during 2011-12 is likely to be above 8,300 Mw. The highest day's consumption recorded in 2010-11 was 172 mu and the same during the period of April-December 2011 was 173 mu. It is anticipated that the likely highest day's consumption during 2011-12 will be about 190 mu.
There is no official power cuts in Karnataka. However, the state government has rationed the supply of power to 24 hours in Bangalore, 22 hours in other cities and district headquarters and 3-phase supply for six hours and single phase between 6 pm and 6 am in rural areas.
Tamil Nadu is currently importing 13 mu followed by AP (10 mu), Kerala (4.8 mu) and Karnataka (7 .9 mu).
Meanwhile, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) on Tuesday decided to impose a load shedding of 30 minutes across all types of consumers in view of the Northern grid failure. This may lead to acute power crisis in Kerala as poor monsoon has caused serious problem to power generation in all the hydroelectric projects in the state. According to KSEB, Kerala will have a shortage of 685 Mw daily from the central pool of power due to this crisis. All the reservoirs of the state, at present, have water resources for generating electricity for 14 days usage only. There is now a controlled production in all the power stations. The state can survive just 45 days going by the current water level in reservoirs.