With the mercury refusing to come down pushing up the demand for electricity,Punjab seems to be heading towards a major crisis – the present power supply is 1,990 lakh units against a demand of nearly 2,300 lakh units.
The residents are spending sleepless nights as frequent and unannounced power cuts stretching from six to eight hours has dried up even the water supply.
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) Director (Distribution) Arun Verma puts the blame of increased power cuts on the sharp increase in demand of electricity owing to the scorching heat and delayed monsoon.
While the domestic sector demand has shot up for cooling purposes (running ACs,coolers,fans),the agriculture sector needs it for paddy plantation and irrigation of other kharif crops, Verma said. The government schools opening after a month-long vacation have also added to the demand.
Queried about plans to ban air conditioners in government offices,change of office timings and extension of summer vacations in government schools,he said,as of now we have been collecting data from our field offices and would discuss it with our chairman.
Verma said the official data received of the power consumption till noon on Sunday was 2,250 lakh units,100 lakh units more since the preceding day.
He said that all the thermal units have been functioning normally but power supply from hydro units have came down. The supply from Bhakra,Pong and Dehra dams was only 160 lakh units,which was over 20 lakh units less than previous year.
Power generation at Bhakra has also plunged to 20 from 30 lakh units (LU) per day on an average.
Meanwhile,the residents are complaining that the frequent cuts and not enough supply have rendered appliances like ACs,coolers and refrigerators useless even as inverters have failed.
The fluctuating voltage has damaged the electronic equipments, a Basti area resident said.
Most of the residents and shopkeepers have started using diesel gensets pushing up the pollution levels. Such is the scenario that some shops in Phagwara Gate (electric goods market) now remain closed for three days while those in Sheikhan have announced to keep the shutters down in a week.
In villages even the faults are not being repaired despite repeated reminders,alleged a Nakodar area resident.
Officials in Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) claimed that they have been providing the power for 16 to 18 hours.