By Abhishek Mishra: As heatwave across Uttar Pradesh continues unabated, with temperatures set to cross 45 degrees Celsius, frequent power cuts have added to people’s woes with no signs of respite. The state’s peak power demand has surpassed 25,000 MW.
The crisis is more acute in villages and small towns that often face emergency load shedding for 1 to 2 hours every day, in addition to the frequent power disruptions caused by local faults. The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPCCL), crippled with maintenance and staff shortage issues, is now gearing up to meet the demands of the customers after peak power demand reached 25,800 MW on May 23.
On May 1, the electricity consumption in the state was 14,675 MW which had increased to 19,680 megawatts by May 6. The Corporation has estimated that the consumption would hover between 26,000 to 27,000 MW by the end of May. Teams have been alerted to immediately rectify the local faults according to the instructions.
Districts such as Kannauj, Banda, Chandauli, Deoria, Kaushambi, Ambedkarnagar, and Bareilly are experiencing frequent power cuts. Complaints of power cuts are also coming from cities and towns, including the capital Lucknow, where the peak demand has reached 26,000 MW between 8 pm and 12 am.
FREQUENT POWER CUTS ADD TO PEOPLE’S WOES
In UP’s Kannauj, power outages have led to additional woes for the locals. Despite Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s promise to provide 18 hours of electricity in rural areas, the supply of electricity is limited to only to 14 hours.
The state electricity production corporation is providing 4276 MW of electricity and other sources of power supply include the Centre, energy exchange, hydroelectric power plants and others.
According to Jitendra Singh Gujjar, the General Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh State Power Corporation Engineers’ Union, every year, along with the increase in consumption, there is also an increase in the approved load. However, this time, due to the alleged management’s negligence, the business plan for December 2022 was approved late, resulting in a delay of three to four months.
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Avdhesh Verma, the Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Consumers Council, told India Today, “The availability of electricity is not a major problem, but the existing electricity infrastructure in the state is unable to cope with the new arrangements. There is a lack of load capacity in the power lines, as well as in the machinery and several other aspects, which often lead to faults and delays in the supply of electricity. Uttar Pradesh has achieved consistent availability of electricity, but due to maintenance deficiencies and negligence by the department, there are currently some minor power cuts being observed. The department will have to take prompt steps to address this issue.”
‘UP FULLY PREPARED’
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister, Sompalendu Tomar, told India Today, “There have been significant changes in the electricity distribution system since 2017. Now, the focus is not just on electricity supply but also on ensuring smooth and uninterrupted supply. There have been continuous improvements in the system, and whenever complaints are received, they are promptly addressed and resolved.”
“Uttar Pradesh is fully prepared. Last time, we provided 26,000 MW of electricity, and this time too, we will fulfill the demand without any inconvenience in the power supply. Directives have been issued to competent officials in all relevant districts to take immediate action wherever there are supply issues, and maintenance work is being carried out swiftly. As per the instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, necessary measures are being taken to improve the system as per the requirements,” the minister added.
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BJP GOVT INSENSITIVE, SAYS AKHILESH YADAV
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the BJP government and said, “People in Uttar Pradesh are also suffering from intense heat. But the insensitivity of the BJP government is such that it is not doing anything to resolve the power crisis. If the capital, Lucknow, is facing such a power crisis, what can we say about other districts? Every year, along with the increasing heat, power cuts have become a characteristic of the BJP government.”
SP spokesperson Amik Jamai said that the shortage of electricity in the BJP government has become the biggest problem. The power plants established during the Akhilesh government regime were shut down, and the situation is such that power cuts have increased with the rising heat, he said.
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