Kashmir’s Looming Power Crisis: A Winter of Darkness Awaits
By: Javid Amin
As the chill of winter descends upon Kashmir, the region faces a looming power crisis that threatens to plunge its inhabitants into darkness. The Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL), the state-owned electricity utility, is contemplating further extending power cuts due to a persistently inadequate allocation of power from the central grid.
The current power allocation of 1300 MW falls significantly short of the 1700 MW received during the same period last year, indicating a severe shortage that casts a long shadow over Kashmir’s winter prospects. This substantial reduction in power supply has raised concerns among KPDCL officials, who fear that the existing curtailment schedule may not be sufficient to meet the anticipated winter demand.
“We are contemplating further extending power cuts as the current allocation is insufficient, especially considering that peak demand during winter can exceed 2000 MW,” stated a senior KPDCL official, highlighting the gravity of the situation. He warned that in the absence of adequate power allocation, the corporation might be forced to revise the existing curtailment schedule, resulting in even fewer hours of power supply.
The severity of the power crisis is evident in the plummeting monthly power consumption in Kashmir. Compared to last year, the region’s power consumption has dropped by 30 to 40 million units, a direct consequence of the unscheduled and frequent distress cuts. These cuts, arising from a reduction in power allocation, have wreaked havoc on the power grid, leading to an unstable load curve and placing additional stress on the power infrastructure.
Furthermore, official sources revealed that the administration had scaled back power purchases since summer, a decision that has further aggravated the crisis alongside insufficient local power generation. The cumulative impact of these decisions is evident in the significant deviation from the curtailment schedule devised by the KPDCL.
In urban areas, metered locations were initially scheduled for 4.5 hours of load shedding, while non-metered areas were allocated 8 hours. Similarly, in rural areas, metered locations were slated for a maximum of 6 hours of power cuts, and non-metered areas were to endure 8 hours.
However, due to the reduced power allocation, there is a blatant disregard for the curtailment schedule. Power cuts often extend to 4 to 5 hours at a stretch, with metered areas experiencing over 8 hours of load shedding and non-metered areas facing up to 10 to 12 hours of power cuts.
The impending power crisis looms large over Kashmir, casting a pall of uncertainty over the winter months. The residents of Kashmir face a bleak winter, with darkness and cold becoming their unwelcome companions. As the region grapples with this crisis, the authorities must take immediate and decisive action to address the power shortage and ensure that Kashmir’s winter doesn’t descend into an abyss of darkness.