Despite the assurance of the administration to improve the electricity scenario, the power crisis in Kashmir valley is getting worse as the temperature dip.
The valley is facing unscheduled power outages over and above the four and a half to eight hour per day curtailment, as decided in the schedule released by Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) last month.
In the past week, there has been a series of statements by political leaders, trade bodies and prominent persons denouncing the power scenario in the valley amid the falling temperatures. The prominent news dailies of Kashmir have come out with editorials, urging the administration to improve the power scenario.
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani Sogami called it ”one of the worst power crises in Kashmir” that has left the residents upset with power outages of eight to 10 hours per day across Kashmir.
“The situation runs contrary to the claims made by the administration about availability of 24×7 power supply in metered areas. The administration takes crores of rupees in terms of tariff from the consumers but when it comes to providing power supply, it is abdicating responsibility and leaving the consumers high and dry,” he said.
“The load shedding schedule has gone for a toss and most areas are facing day-long outages,” he further alleged.
In October, the KPDCL had announced a 32-hour to 56-hour weekly power curtailment schedule. The corporation had said that the non-metered areas of summer capital Srinagar will face power cuts for eight hours every day and it will be four and a half hours in the metered areas.
However, the curtailments go beyond and above the scheduled hours, putting great stress on the domestic households and traders by affecting production.
Former deputy mayor Sheikh Imran questioned the administration and power officials over the dismal power scenario. “People are fed up of the curtailment schedule not being followed. The administration must fix the responsibility,” he said.
The Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA) said that prolonged hours of load shedding are hampering economic activities and negatively impacting the lives of common people.
“Despite the assurance by the power department that an additional 500 MW of electricity supply would be purchased from the northern grid, Kashmir continues to grapple with unscheduled power cuts that are creating chaos in the daily lives of its residents,” said KTA president Aijaz Shahdhar.
“This inconsistency in adhering to the schedule has had an adverse impact on various sectors, including industries, business community, trade, manufacturing and the burgeoning e-commerce,” he added.
Kashmir needs 2,200 MW of electricity for round the clock power supply and 1,650 MW to adhere to the curtailment schedule. “We are able to provide 1,400-1,500 MW in Kashmir valley every day,” said KPDCL chief engineer Javed Yousuf. This shortage leads to the unscheduled power cuts.
Official sources in power department said that they were not yet able to acquire the 500 MW additional power as that was to be dealt by J&K Power Development Corporation Limited.
Low discharge in rivers led to less local production
They said that the discharge in rivers owing to less precipitation this year has led to decline in local power production causing the power deficit. “The people were using electricity way beyond their registered loads,” sources said. The administration in J&K spends over ₹31,000 crore per year to purchase electricity from the Northern Grid.
So far there are 2.25 lakh consumers with smart meters of the 11 lakh power consumers in total.