Litmus test for PSPCL as paddy season commences : The Tribune India

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Litmus test for PSPCL as paddy season commences

Litmus test for PSPCL as paddy season commences


Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, June 12

With the start of the first phase of paddy transplantation on Friday, the power demand in Punjab jumped by more than 1,000 MW on Saturday and the maximum power demand touched 11,236 MW. The power supply in the state was 2,413 lakh units, an increase of 75 lakh units from the start of the staggered paddy season.

Demand up by 200L units

  • 2,413L units is the current demand, 200L units more than last year
  • 15 lakh tubewells currently functional, against 13.66 L in 2018 season
  • Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 cr likely to be spent on power this season

Full impact after June 17

Full impact of paddy load will be felt after June 17. However, PSPCL will be able to draw 8,500 MW from sources outside Punjab. Much depends on rain spells as well. — VK Gupta, Spokesperson, All-India Power Engineers Federation

Already reeling under financial crisis, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) will have to go through a litmus test as it braces for one of the costliest paddy seasons, with a record high demand. It is expected to spend Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 crore on power supply this paddy season.

“This year, the power demand and supply are 200 lakh units more than the last year. The power supply on June 11 was 2,202 lakh units last year,” said a PSPCL official.

On the government directive, PSPCL is supplying power for paddy in a phased manner, which has helped control surge in load at the start of paddy season. The paddy transplantation along the International Border started on June 10.

“While eight-hour power supply for paddy in Majha, Doaba, Ropar and Mohali will start from June 14, in the rest of the state it will begin from June 17. The full impact of the paddy load will come after June 17,” said VK Gupta, spokesperson, All-India Power Engineers Federation. “Much depends on rain spells too,” he stated.

“The redeeming factor is that this year, PSPCL will be able to draw 8,500 MW power from sources outside Punjab. To meet the power shortage, it can go for power purchase through exchange a day prior or on real-time basis as the need may arise. In the case of power purchase, the main problem will be the financial health of PSPCL as it is not getting full subsidy due from the Punjab Government in time,” said Gupta.

Around 15 lakh tubewells will draw millions of litres of groundwater, which is already witnessing a depletion of 2.5 ft annually.

The early sowing of paddy “puts an extra pressure on soil” and leads to consumption of excessive groundwater. As many as 108 blocks in the state are under the “dark zone” (where water table has fallen drastically) because of the increasing area under paddy cultivation.

Experts suggest a tubewell pumps out 30.24 lakh litre water a week with an average eight hours of power supply.

“The power demand is likely to cross 16,000 MW against last year’s 15,000 MW, which it failed to meet. In case of delayed rains, power pangs are expected. However, we have done our best in terms of arranging more power to feed our power supply,” said a PSPCL official.

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