In the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh government promising to provide 22-24 hr power supply before 2017, UP has registered maximum power shortage amongst the 12 major Indian states.
In the latest figures released by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for the month of May 2015 regarding maximum and minimum energy demand and availability, UP clocked power shortage of 11.6% against all India average of power shortage at 2.3%.
During May 2015, the maximum demand and availability of energy in UP stood at 14,696 mw and 12,991 mw respectively, which means shortage of 1,705 mw. CEA functions under the union power ministry.
Interestingly, most big states reported nil or negligible power shortage vis-à-vis UP.
While, UP reported power shortage of 11.6%, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan have recorded balanced maximum energy demand and availability status.
Bihar stood a distance second in this parameter with 3% power shortage during May 2015, followed by Uttarakhand (2%), Gujarat (0.9%), Maharashtra (0.8%) and Andhra Pradesh (0.1%).
Even as the availability of power remains a challenge for the state energy department, the state power utility UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) has sought upward revision of power tariffs soon.
UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president Avadhesh Kumar Verma suggested the state government should instead pay attention towards improving power availability rather than turning a blind eye towards imminent tariff hike, as UPPCL's application is being considered by the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission.
"When the state energy consumers are not even getting adequate power supply, there is a conspiracy to hike tariffs," he lamented.
Currently, the state is reeling under severe power shortage with only select urban centres getting uninterrupted power supply. Besides, the overburdened and rickety power infrastructure of sub-stations and transformers in UP are resulting in breakdown and unscheduled outages and power cuts.
To make the matters worse, the rampant power theft and unmetered power consumers are another burden on the already power strapped UPPCL.
The power department and utilities are also bereft with corruption, wherein unscrupulous employees connive with top power dues defaulters and take a cut of arrears after decreasing their bill amounts. Police is already investing a case after such a racket was busted in the state.
The state has accorded top priority to energy sector along with infrastructure for faster economic development. With UP elections due in early 2017, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has been personally keeping track of the major projects.
The CM has directed officials to ensure that the rural and urban areas get 16 hr and 22-24 hr power supply by 2016 respectively.
The state government has planned to incur Rs 22,500 crore and Rs 15,000 crore on sprucing up the transmission and distribution networks respectively, which includes setting up new power sub-stations to feed maximum power to consumers. Besides, Rs 22,000 crore would be invested on rural electrification.
UP projects to double power availability to 21,000 mw by 2016-17, when the peak hour demand is also pegged at a whopping 23,000 mw.