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Power crunch turns grim in Kerala

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Power crunch turns grim in Kerala
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Thiruvananthapuram: With the power production from Kochi BSES had been stopped due to the high fuel price, more power restrictions seem to be imminent in the State.

The KSEB is planning to extend the curb on power for half an hour more from the usual power cut as the crisis has worsened. The KSEB informed that the restriction has been extended as the State was not getting sufficient power from the Talcher power plant and there was a shortage of 300 MW from the Central pool due to repair works.

Deficient rains have compounded power woes as the water-level of reservoirs is receding fast in the State which relies heavily on hydro power. The situation is bound to worsen if the catchment areas of major hydro-power projects fail to receive copious summer rains before the onset of South West Monsoon, which normally hits Kerala coast by the first week of June.

Nearly 71 per cent of the State's total installed capacity of 2,873 MW is accounted by hydel sources.

According to Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), total water storage in all the reservoirs stood at 940 million unit equivalent this week-end against an average daily consumption of 60 million units.

Despite one hour load-shedding, 30 minutes of which is in the peak evening hours, there is a yawning gap between domestic power generation and demand, which is met by heavy dependence on the central pool and other outside sources.

Apart from the uncertainty, the shortage has also cast a huge additional burden on the Power board by way of extra cost for maintaining the supply-demand gap in a state which boasts of cent per cent electrification.

According to Power Minister Aryadan Muhammad tiding over this difficult phase warranted at least six hours of load-shedding since the internal production is around 11 million units a day against the requirement of 60 million units.

The Minister, however, repeatedly made it clear that the government is keen to spare people of staggered switch-offs by making up the deficiency by tapping outside sources, though it entailed a heavy cost on the Power board.

The Kerala electricity regulatory commission has suggested that one of the long-term strategies for the State is to step up solar energy generation to make it at least 25 per cent of the total demand.

There are also suggestions for tapping the potential of mini and micro sources with the participation of the private sector.

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