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Assam faces huge power crisis Essay

Guwahati: Assam is facing a severe power crisis after a fall in the generation of power by hydel and thermal power stations. Two transmission towers in neighbouring West Bengal were damaged by a devastating storm, which has also led to the shortage.

The state is facing a shortage of 403 Megawatt (MW) of power with the peak load hour power demand being 1100 MW as against the available 497 MW, official sources said today.

The problem has been further compounded with the damage of transmission towers due to storm last week in Jalpaiguri district in the neighbouring West Bengal that supplies 300 MW power to Assam, the sources said. The power generating stations in the state have also been affected due to the shortage of gas supply for thermal power stations and less availability of water for the hydel power stations, sources said.

The Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) has been forced to resort to frequent and prolonged power cuts due to the shortage of power generation, they said.

The situation was likely to improve within a couple of days as work was on to restore the transmission towers. However, the gap between the demand and supply of power would continue to exist till the state received adequate rainfall, sources added.

Guwahati: Acute power shortage has crippled the functioning of normal life throughout Assam since last couple of days. With the temperature showing a rising trend, the people and their works have suffered because of frequent load shedding resorted to by Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd. Sources informed that shortfall in generation at thermal and hydropower plants in the region has precipitated the severe power shortage in the state. Assam needs 1100 MW of power during the peak hours and there is a sever shortage as only about 700 MW is available these days. Similarly, about 500 MW is available during the off peak hours against the demand of over 700 MW during the off peak hours. The state’s share of power from all the Central Sector Generating Stations (CSGS) of the Northeast is 589 MW for this month.

However, because of reduced generation from thermal and hydropower plants in Central Sector Generating Stations the state is getting less power from these plants. The reduction in generation is due to short supply of gas to thermal power plants and less availability of water in hydropower plants. The situation is unlikely to change for better in immediate future . Power crisis has affected works in offices and financial institutions in the state. The worst sufferers are however are the laboratories and Information Technology based organisations as their equipment are mostly power dependent. An official of a research unit of Aaranyak, a premier bio-diversity institution said that their all sophisticated equipment are facing hazards due to frequent power cuts resorted to by the power distribution authority. School children in the state are worst hit by the power scarcity, as frequent power cuts have brought the ceiling fans in their classrooms to a stop. Most of the schools in the state suffer a lot as they don’t have any alternative sources of power to suffice the power requirements. Assam facing huge power shortage

Following this disruption the state has not been able to draw power from outside the region. Assam is heavily dependent on outside sources as its own generation of power abysmally low. The state is facing 450 MW of power shortage during the peak load hours, while its shortfall during the off peak load hours is around 230 MW. Against the demand of 1100MW during peak hour the state is getting 650 MW. Similarly during off peak hours against the demand of 720 MW the state is receiving was 490 MW. The state power utilities are generating 257 MW of power. Industries like tea are taking the beating following this crisis.

Power minister, Pradyut Bordoloi has left for North Bengal to supervise the restoration of two towers which has resulted in the breakdown of the grid connectivity. A team of engineers are accompanying the minister. According to state government, Powergrid has started repair work of towers. “We have asked Powergrid to restore the same as fast as possible.” The power minister will also review the progress of the 750 MW Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BTPS). The first unit of this project is likely to be commissioned by the beginning of next year. Projects being planned

A 500 MW coal based power plant at Margherita is envisaged through JV/Own. The acquisition of project land and coal linkage matters is on. Further, with a view of exploiting the vast natural gas stock in Assam, it is envisaged to set up large capacity gas based power project at Amguri. However, currently, the project activities are stalled due to non-availability of gas linkage. A 100 MW Namrup Replacement Power Project (NRPP) is also being implemented to replace the oldest gas turbine units of Namrup Thermal Power Plant operating since 1965.

On implementation of thermal projects in central sector like 750 MW NTPC’s Bongaigaon Power Project & 740 MW Pallatana Project by OTPC in near future, the state’s allocated power share from these projects shall also go a long way in meeting ever growing demand of energy in the state through a suitable balance of Thermal and Hydel power. Electricity demand in Assam is likely to rise to the level of 2293 MW by the end to Twelfth Five Year Plan from the present demand of 1200 MW Anurag Goel Anurag Goel, Commissioner & Secretary, IT & Power Departments, Government Of Assam, Dispur

The own generation of the Assam Power Generation Company Ltd. (APGCL) is around 320 MW and from the share of the Central Sector Generating Stations (CSGSs) viz. NEEPCO, NHPC along with bilateral power, the total import is around 750 MW, thus the total availability of power now stands at only 1070 MW.


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