Centre not cooperating to solve power crisis:Govt

Bhubaneswar: Under attack for acute power crisis, Odisha government today said UPA in centre is not cooperating to solve the problem in the state. Erratic rainfall and coal scarcity were behind the problem even as opposition Congress walked out of the assembly protesting the remark of energy minister and frequent power cut in the state.

"Scarcity of coal, supply of low quality coal to thermal power producers and erratic rainfall led to low generation of both hydro and thermal electricity," Energy minister Atanu S Nayak said in the assembly while replying a debate on an adjournment motion. Admitting that electricity generation within the state was inadequate to meet the demand, the minister said there had been drastic fall in hydro-electricity generation due to low reservoir level located in the southern parts of the state. "Though the state used to get 60 per cent of its electricity requirement from hydel projects, this time it drastically fell due to low reservoir level in Indravati, Upper Kolab and Balimela hydro-power stations," he said.

Power generation in different multi-purpose reservoirs was the last priority, he said adding irrigation and drinking water were given top priority. While the state used to generate 800 MW to 1,200 MW of electricity during winter season, this time it was only 200 MW to 300 MW, the minister pointed out. When power generation – in both hydro and thermal sectors – had gone down, there had been increase in the demand for electricity due to rural electrification and rapid industrialisation, the minister pointed out.

While the state`s average power requirement was 2700 MW and 3300 MW during peak hours, state`s power availability was only 2340 MW to 2400 MW. "There is shortage of about 300 MW to 400 MW of power in the state," the minister said. This apart, the state government maintained that hike in the price of coal by Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL) by 45 per cent in a span of two-years had also added to the crisis. As MCL increased the coal price, different Captive Power Plants (CPP) were not interested to generate more power, the minister said.

Adding to the state`s power crisis, power supply from central sector had also fallen, he said adding state was availing about 50 per cent less electricity from NTPC plants. Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress, however, blamed state government`s inability to handle the situation. "You can`t go for power cut in the state which was power surplus some years ago," Singh said.