Owing to the brimming reservoirs at Bhakra and Pong dams, Punjab is getting 50 lakh units (LUs) more power from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) daily this year as compared to the corresponding period last year.
As per the data sourced from BBMB, on June 27, Bhakra supplied 111 LUs to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited against 78.46 LUs it supplied on the same day last year. Similarly Pong Dam located at Talwara in Hoshiarpur district supplied 11.71 LUs on June 27 against 3.48 LUs last year.
The Dehar Dam, also part of the BBMB, supplied 60 LUs on June 27 against 48 LUs last year. In total, the PSPCL received 183.09 LUs of power from BBMB on June 27 against 130. 41 LUs it got last year on the same day.
“More hydel power generation implies less burden on the thermal plants that need coal, take much time to generate power (as compared to hydel) and create pollution,” said a senior officer in the PSPCL.
“Apart from the maintenance cost of the turbines, the hydel power has zero running cost,” the official added.
Data sourced from the PSPCL revealed that in April and May this year, Punjab received 141 MUs and 275 MUs from BBMB, respectively against 102 MUs and 192 MUs last year, respectively.
In June last year, BBMB had supplied 205 MUs to Punjab and this year, power generation touched 250 MUs mark on June 27 and may reach 300 MUs at the end of the month.
Sources in the PSPCL said that this was possible only due to good quantity of water in the reservoirs. “Good rains in September last year, when there was no requirement of water for paddy irrigation, had filled the reservoirs close to their highest levels. It was followed by good rain in the winters (January and February) in both Punjab and catchment areas in Himachal Pradesh,” said a senior BBMB official. The official said that there was around 25 per cent more seasonal snow cover in Himachal Himalayas during 2018-19 as per the assessment of the spatial distribution of seasonal snow cover.
Now, the melting snow in summer months has resulted in huge flow of water into Sutlej river, which originates from Himalayas and on which Bhakra dam has been built,.
Due to these factors, in past six months since January, the water level in 1680-feet high reservoir of Bhakra dam remained historically highest before monsoon period.
On June 26, the water level at Bhakra reservoir was 1,603.85 feet, which 111.85 feet more than 1,492 feet recorded on the same day last year. The water level on June 1 was 1612.41 feet, which was 122 feet more than last year’s 1,490.16 feet, the same day last year.
BBMB officials said a water level of 9 feet has been utilized for power generation in the last 26 days. The inflow in Bhakra is 31,691 cusecs per day while the usage is 34,116 cusecs.
“Due to the prediction of a deficient monsoon this year, enough cushion needs to be maintained while utilizing the water for irrigation and power purposes,” said VK Gupta, the spokesperson for All India Power Engineer Federation.