Maharashtra power situation not good: Central Electricity Authority report
Even though Maharashtra shares the second spot with West Bengal in power sector as per an assessment by union power ministry, a recent report by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) places it in the middle so far as power shortage is concerned.
CEA has estimated that Maharashtra will face around 10% energy shortage in 2013-14. However, it will have surplus power during the evening hours, which is unusual.
According to the report, 15 of the 33 states and union territories are expected to be power surplus this year. However, seven of the 15 states are very small and their power demand is not even 5% of Maharashtra.
The state has the highest overall electricity requirement in million units (MU) as well as peak power demand. The latter figure is expected to be 18,250MW this year. Among the seven states whose peak demand is expected to be well over 10,000MW, only Gujarat has surplus power. Many states are facing crippling power shortages. Tamil Nadu’s overall deficit is 26.5% and peak deficit is 34%.
Maharashtra’s power deficit in 2013-14 may be lower than CEA’s estimate. The shortage in 2012-13 was only 3.2%, far lower than the estimate, because MSEDCL purchased a lot of power on short term basis as well as overdrew from the grid whenever the system permitted it.
The CEA report, however, does not take into account deliberate load-shedding by MSEDCL in high loss areas. Power is available in the market to bridge the gap, but MSEDCL doesn’t do it because it incurs huge loss in supplying power to these areas.
As per CEA estimates, Maharashtra’s power deficit will be highest in May and July. The figures of May are yet to be released but the shortage in summer is traditionally high. The shortage in July is because large number of generation units will be taken out for maintenance. Another reason is that wet coal significantly reduces generation.
The power shortage in the state is, however, not apparent in urban and semi-urban areas. Power cuts are enforced only in rural areas and some urban areas with very high losses. Also, agricultural pumps do not get three phase supply all the time, but the CEA does not consider it as shortage. This is not considered desirable because of very low power tariff for farmers.