Power shortage in the district to worsen; no reprieve till monsoon3 min read
Manipal: “The water is less this year and we have a coal shortage. It is safe to say that we will have a power shortage till the monsoon. It is going to get worse. As it gets hotter, the electricity generated will cut down to less than 50 percent of the demand,” said Shankar, Asst. Executive Engineer (Ele.), Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (MESCOM), Manipal sub-division.
The power shortage was made up by load shedding with the neighbouring districts. But since the second week of March, the power cuts have been erratic, making it difficult for the locals and students to go about their daily lives.
“The generation of electricity is not enough. We get half of what we need. To cope with this situation we are load shedding, and hence the power cuts,” said Shankar.
In 2012, the rain fall was below average, leading to crop failures and a water shortage throughout the country. Hydro electrical power plants have been pushing their limit to make up for the water shortage since then. Most of Dakshin Kannada’s electricity is produced by coal based power plants, but owing to the fact that this region isn’t rich in coal, the power produced never fully meets the demand. With frequent load sharing and power redirection, the state manages to make up the losses in the industrial areas, often not tending completely to the power needs of the rural regions.
Ashok Kundapur, an environmentalist from Manipal said, “When major cities like Bangalore have an electricity shortage, the state directs some of the power from these districts to the larger cities, often causing a shortage of electricity here.”
Iliyas, the owner of AR shop, a small grocery store on End Point Road, said, “Now a days the power goes for 45 minutes and some days its goes almost four times a day. We can’t afford a generator and its maintenance. We have a small inverter for the lights only, but our fridge and cold storage both depend on the main power.”
However, Manipal University (MU) is well-equipped to face the shortage. “Now with summer fast approaching, there is going to be more power cuts and failures. We have a well-equipped generator system for the university. Each area of the MU is covered by a generator powerful enough to replace the main current. What every electricity we use from the Karnataka state electricity board, can be equally replaced by our captive power (the power produced by the Generators of MU),” said Col. Badri Narayanan, Director, Purchase, MU.
Manipal gets its electricity from MESCOM, whose main office is in Mangalore. 18 percent of the power produced by MESCOM is generated by the Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL). In February, similar power cuts were experienced in the region. The UPCL explained that the power deficiency was due to the shortage of coal. UPCL had mentioned to TMJ that the power cuts would reduce as soon as coal was brought in from Malaysia and South Africa (refer: UPCL likely to solve power failure issues by February 5).
Sub-edited by Sabari Saran