Even with 20% rise in the demand for electricity and the onset of the paddy-sowing season that will require eight-hour free supply to the farm sector, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has assured a power-cutfree summer in the election year.
To be able to feed tube-wells without drying up industry and the domestic sector, the corporation has divided the state into three segments for eight-hour rotational supply. The power demand in the state crossed 9300 megawatts on Wednesday, a 2,100MW jump from the pre-season figure of 7,200 MW. The supply is also up by more than 330-lakh units this week.
Tuesday’s supply was 1,910lakh units — 860 lakh units from the state-run thermal power units, 122 lakh units from the hydroelectric projects, and 930 lakh units from Punjab’s share from the central pool and power purchase agreements. In view of the paddy season, the PSPCL on Wednesday started all six units of the Rupnagar thermal-energy plant, four units of Lehra Mohabbat and two of Bathinda. Three Rupnagar units were started after a unit of private-run plant at Talwandi Sabo tripped. Both units of L&T-owned Rajpura plant are operating.
The PSPCL says it will operate all state-run thermal-energy units, and go for short-term purchase to handle peak-hour load. It has banked the coal required to fire the plants by cutting operation of its units in past two months. The coal stock at all thermal stations is above the minimum requirement of 21 days for monsoon period.
Rupnagar and Lehra Mohabbat have 39 and 30 days, respectively, of fuel, while Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura have coal to last 26 and 10 days, respectively. PSPCL chairman and managing director KD Chaudhri said that with a normal monsoon predicted, “I assure you a cut-free summer”. “This paddy season, we anticipate an all-time-high demand of about 11,000 MW, which we will be able to meet by own generation, central allocation, and short-term purchase,” he said.
He claimed the north grid had power in abundance and on Tuesday the corporation had bought 600 MW from it for Rs 2.35 per unit, almost `1 cheaper than own generation. “Whenever we will find power cheaper in the grid, we will shut our units to save fuel,” said the CMD.