Chandigarh/ Bathinda, July 4
Punjab’s power crisis worsened further today as the second unit of Talwandi Sabo power plant developed a snag, causing a shortage of 660 MW. Consequently, the industry in several areas, shut down for two days, will be allowed to operate only partially from Monday.
Already, one unit of the plant (660 MW) has remained shut for some time due to a technical glitch. A senior official at the plant said there was a technical glitch in unit No. 1 and it would be fixed soon. The official added work was on to put back the second unit into operation at the earliest.
The largest thermal power plant in North India, set up by Vedanta Limited at Banawala village near Mansa, has the capacity to generate 1,980 MW from its three units of 680 MW each. Till last evening, the plant was supplying around 1,178 MW to the northern grid.
Reacting quickly, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) bought additional 1,100 MW from the Power Exchange to meet the demand, which touched 13,200 MW today. With the Government of India (Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre) allowing the state to increase its transmission capacity by an additional 400 MW today (to reach 7,800 MW), the state was able to get additional power from the Grid to meet its increased demand.
Unscheduled power cuts on domestic and commercial consumers were again reported from many parts of the state, though the agriculture sector demand was largely met. The reason for unscheduled power cuts, say officials in PSPCL, is a leakage in the boiler tube of a 660 MW plant at Talwandi Sabo, which will be restored by Monday.
Though officials in PSPCL insist that they supplied an average of nine hours of power to agriculture pumpset consumers and that there were no cuts on other categories, people in semi-urban and rural areas of Majha and Doaba complained of long unscheduled cuts.
The power supply to industrial units in the Central Zone (Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Khanna, Amloh and Sirhind) and the North Zone (Jalandhar, Phagwara and Hoshiarpur) was restored today. However, the continuous process industry in these zones will remain closed till Thursday. Industrial units in the Border Zone and Southern Zone will get only 30 per cent of the sanctioned power load, confirmed A Venu Prasad, Chairman, PSPCL.
Even the industrial units fed power from mixed feeders will have to wait to begin operations. Units dealing in essential services, including poultry, rice shellers, telecom and call centres, have been exempted from restrictions.