THE curtailment schedule issued by the Power Development Department and KPDCL last month outlining 4-5 hour daily cuts in metered areas and 8-hour cuts in non-metered areas, has no meaning, since the outages go beyond schedules. The power crisis has affected almost all spheres of life which could impact industrial productivity, waste management in municipal areas, intensive care in hospitals, and many other important sectors are likely to suffer badly if the situation remains the same. As against the demand of 1900MW, the available supply has dipped below 1200MW, resulting in substantial shortfall of around 700MW which is unprecedented.
The deficit is attributed to the dry summers in Jammu and Kashmir resulting in receding water levels for the power projects in the UT. The receding water levels in rivers and tributaries has resulted in decline in electricity generation.
Whatever the reasons for shortfall, the consumers have a right to uninterrupted power supply and the administration is duty-bound to provide the same, particularly when the consumers are paying electricity bills regularly in the era of smart meters. There were a couple of thermal or gas power plants in the UT which would, to some extent, provide back-up in the worsening situation. All those plants are currently dysfunctional adding to the power woes. It merits a mention here that the Jammu region too witnessed worst-ever power crisis during the summer months this year. This shows the unpreparedness, rather callousness of the Power Development Department and Power Distribution Corporations in the UT. There is anger among the consumers and they have genuine questions which both the JKPDC and JKPDD need to answer.