FOUR DAYS after the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) rolled back its load-shedding plan, electricity consumers in several parts of the state continued to experience long hours of power cuts. On Wednesday, residents in parts of Navi Mumbai complained of frequent power cuts in the area. Power cuts for long hours were also reported from Mumbra, Solapur and Bhiwandi. In Bhiwandi, the textile industry has been hit by the load-shedding, said weavers. “The industry is still reeling from the effect of Goods and Services Tax. There are power cuts for over six to eight hours, which is further affecting business. We are barely able to crawl back to business,” said Tahir Momin, a weaver from Bhiwandi.
“The MSEDCL is misleading consumers by not providing proper information on load-shedding schedules. Consumers need to be told so they can be prepared. This is unacceptable,” said SL Patil, head of the Thane Belapur Industries Association.
Besides industrial areas, residents are getting inconvenienced by power outages. “There have been frequent power cuts since last week and we have to plan our day accordingly as we can’t use household appliances. The lift in the building also becomes defunct. It is very frustrating,” said Noor Zehra Gheewala, a resident of Mumbra.
“Farming activities have taken a hit, especially since it has been raining for the past couple of weeks. During rains, pomegranate orchards are more susceptible to infection and we need electricity to carry out disinfection. This process has taken a hit,” said Bapusaheb Shinde, a resident of Medshingi village in Solapur.
“For at least six hours a day, there is no electricity here. In the past two days, there was an outage between 9am and 4pm. The entire day is wasted due to load-shedding and we have to go to the fields late in the evening or early in the morning,” Shinde added.
Senior MSEDCL officials, on the other hand, maintained that there has been no load-shedding since Sunday. “Because of heavy rains, the demand for power has reduced considerably. The situation is under control and no load-shedding has been carried out since Sunday,” said an official, on the condition of anonymity. According to official data, the peak demand for Wednesday was 14,200MW, down from 17,800 MW last Friday. An MSEDCL official from Kolhapur district, however, confirmed that load-shedding was being carried out “as usual” but with changed timings.
An unforeseen coal shortage had led to a sudden shortfall in power production and the MSEDCL was forced to resort to load-shedding last week including in cities such as Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune. On Monday, the state power distribution company bought 1,450MW power through short-term power purchase agreements with generators to mitigate the crisis.