Power cuts to continue: Pseb


Staff member
Chandigarh February 26:

Help thyself. This was the message conveyed to the power-starved industry of Punjab by top officials of power department, as they said the era of power shortages would continue in the state.

Already facing a shortage of about 3,000 MWs, Punjab is in for a bad time as the power demand shoots up by another 12 per cent this year. To make matters worse, the state electricity board does not have enough funds at its disposal to trade for electricity on the power exchange at three times the normal price, or buy power through uninterrupted interchange (UI) at almost double the price.

Suresh Kumar, secretary, power and irrigation, tried to bring things “in the right perspective” for the industry seeking some relief. “We cannot help you in any way as the power situation will only get worse in the coming summers. You will have to deal with power shortage for another three years till the time the new power generation projects are commissioned,” he said, even as the dismayed industry asked him how they were expected to continue production without power.

Kumar, who was addressing industrialists at PHD Chamber, said the government was trying its best to improve the power situation. “The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has a financial burden of Rs 7,334 crore. Since 2006, all debt has been raised for purchasing power. We have also managed to get a state government guarantee of Rs 6,000 crore to banks, so that we can borrow money and purchase power. But only when I have sufficient power availability, I can help you,” he said.

Contending that the power department was against any power subsidy, he said the power subsidy of Rs 2,602 crore to agriculture sector and for BPL and SC consumers was not sustainable. As the industry demanded some relief in form of subsidy, Kumar said they could not put up any proposal which sacrificed the revenue of the cash-strapped PSEB further.

“Denying power to industry is also causing us discomfort as we lose revenue,” he added. Kumar said the state government knew there were shortcuts available and they were now commissioning new projects for additional generation at Gidderbaha, Goindwal Sahib and Rajpura.