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Uttar Pradesh denies overdrawal but heads roll

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Blamed for a consecutive day’s collapse of the northern grid, Uttar Pradesh has a of 14 per cent. It draws 5,000-5,600 Mw from the central sector routinely these days.

Given the total demand of 12,000 Mw as against a supply of 9,000-10,500 Mw, the state has been overdrawing power to reduce the deficit, said officials in Delhi.

Anil Kumar Gupta, the state government’s principal secretary, energy, claimed on Tuesday that taking into consideration the parameters at the time of grid failure, “There is no reason to believe that any power operations in UP triggered it.”

Late last night, however, the state government removed Avnish Awasthi as chairman and managing director of the of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. It appointed as MD, with Gupta himself to officiate as chairman.

While UP has also been resorting to measures such as rostering and power cuts in identified areas to balance demand and supply, areas such as Lucknow, Agra, Greater Noida and Etawah (home district of the ruling party’s head) are officially off the roster.

In Punjab, with the country’s highest per capita consumption of 1,102 units, there is a power deficit of 11 per cent, though the rate it charges for suppply is 36 per cent higher than in UP, showed an analysis of the first quarter data of different states. The average power rate in UP is Rs 3.77 per unit, against Rs 5.13 per unit in Punjab. UP saw its last revision of rates in 2010; Punjab went for a rise as recently as this month. The average rate in Haryana is Rs 4.50 per unit, last revised this April.

With a generation capacity of 1,258 Mw from common pool projects i.e. under the Bhakra Beas Management Board, Punjab had a total installed capacity of 7,035 Mw as on March 31, 2011. Despite an installed generation capacity of 6,781 Mw, including co-generation by sugar mills, UP’s actual generation is only 3,700 Mw.

A senior official in Punjab State Power Corporation said they had a demand of 210 million units in this season and there was a daily shortage of 20-30 mn units. Punjab is expecting its peak unrestricted demand to reach 10,009 Mw in the next two years. The state has three thermal plants, with total installed capacity of 2,620 Mw. There is a shortfall of 25 per cent from the peak demand.

Another hydropower producer, Uttarakhand, has seen its power demand shoot up to 35 mn units, while it produces only 20 mn.

The household sector accounts for 37 per cent of UP’s total power consumption. The share of industry has now fallen to 18-20 per cent. The rest is accounted for by the agricultural and commercial sectors. About 40 per cent of the total power demand in Haryana comes from agriculture.

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