Eastern suburbs, such as Bhandup, Mulund, and Kanjur, along with large parts of Thane and Navi Mumbai experienced 3 hours of power cuts on Wednesday, October 5, 2017. The said places in Mumbai did not suffer load-shedding since 2012 until recently.
The power demand in Maharashtra is approximately 16,500 MW, while the supply is only 14,000 MW, according to the state-owned power distribution utility, Mahavitran. The state has been divided into seven zones (A to G), categorized as per the percentage of bill recovery and transmission and distribution losses, by Mahavitran. The areas, which fall under A to C category were exempted from power cut in 2012. But since the state is suffering from an acute scarcity of coal supply, closure of electricity generation units, and rise in demand owing to October heat, Mahavitran is obligated to for load-shedding.
Also, the nonfunctional state of 1,700 MW Mahagenco power plant adds to the root of the problem due to several technical reasons. Therefore, it is generating only 4,500 MW of power against its actual capacity. Moreover, water shortage in Vidarbha region due to inadequate rain has led to load-shedding, which is the source of the bulk of power generation.
Earlier, the Mahavitran sought permission from Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), the state power regulator, through its application to buy power from other states, the hearing for which was slated on Thursday. The proposal to purchase is opposed by consumer organizations because it will put the state electricity board in the extra burden of Rs. 60 crore that eventually will be charged from consumers at an expensive rate of about Rs 5 per unit.
Talking to a news media, Pratap Hogade, president of Maharashtra State Power Consumer Association, said, “The consumers are already paying Mahavitaran stand-by charges to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore to ensure that the nearly 5,000 MW capacity is not used because of lack of demand. So if there is an excess capacity available, power should be generated using this excess capacity, instead of buying expensive power.”
He also expressed his disbelief that the state is resorting for load-shedding now while there was no load-shedding during summers. “When the demand had reached 19,500 MW during summer season, there was no load-shedding but now when the demand has dipped by nearly 3,000 MW, the government is resorting to power cuts. This clearly shows that it’s nothing but mismanagement.”
On the contrary, the Union Coal ministry is continuing to claim the increased production of power in the 3 years of NDA government. Now, it’s up to you to decide who is right!