"No power cuts for Bangalore", says H Nagesh, Director Technical, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM). The rains towards the end of July have helped increase the water levels of the reservors resulting in increase hydel power generation. He also sounded cautious about the coming weeks. "Presently the load shedding is stopped for Bangalore alone but if the rains continue in this way there might not be any need for power cuts throughout the state. But if there is irregular rainfall then scheduled power cuts will be implemented", he says.
Last month, Bangaloreans all over were experiencing severe power cuts. Karnataka relies on hydroelectric power and the lower level of monsoon rains during June-July year hit the state’s reservoir levels. This, along with growing demand resulted in power shortages leading to heavy load shedding throughout the state..
But untimely power cuts worsened troubles for everyone. Places like Basvangudi saw a six hour power cut everyday and these six hours, if not fixed, were sure to be troublesome. "I have a self owned business and work from home but I was unable to finish my task as the power went off anytime and for uncertain period," says P Srinand, who is a graphic designer.
The recent bomb blasts might have diverted public mind from the power cuts but the problem is not solved yet.
Ashok Angadi, Chief Engineer,BESCOM explained, "We are looking forward to getting power from other states as well. The Chhattisgarh CM will be signing the MoU in a few days. We will be setting up a 2000 MW plant in Chhatisgarh. The power from CG will be thermal power, it will be a Memorandum of Understanding signed between both the state governments." Chhatisgarh is also going to start supplying 100 MW of power to Karnataka from this month, says Angadi. Along with this, BESCOM is also buying 100 MW from the private producers at the rate of Rs 7.50 per unit.
He further added that while the state is facing steep power troubles people should not keep on blaming the BESCOM. "All of us are responsible for wasting energy. We should try and use the power saver lights at home. BESCOM has put posters in the city to make citizens aware of energy conservation." We can simply switch off the lights, fans, television sets and computers when not in use, he points out. Along with that paying of bills timely was also one of the main things pointed out by him.
While house hold consumption has increased over time, there is a lot of electricity consumption even in the hoardings and advertisements on the roads."We wrote a letter to the Commissioner of BBMP asking for some power conservation from their side as well," added Nagesh.
Some of the points in the letter dated 25 July 2008 were as following:
– Street lights should not be switched ON before dusk and to be switched OFF at 5:30am. -On streets with too many street lights, alternate lights should be switched OFF.
-Switch OFF lights in parks (excluding the security lights) immediately after the closure of the park.
– Action needs to be taken in reduction of 50 per cent of power in respect of hoardings boards and advertisements.
Nagesh also says that because of the load shedding the consumption load had reduced in the city and since the power cuts have stopped the load has not increased substantially. He did not have exact numbers to show this though.
Customer Relations Coordinator, BESCOM
He explained that the power situation will not impact water being pumped into the city and would not affect water supply. As has been the case in previous years, Nagesh said that the government is looking forward to cloud seeding in certain parts of the state.
In the meantime, with the rains having back during the last week of July, the power situation might just improve.
The Indian Meteorological Department has said that the total rainfall in Bangalore in the month of July was 283.4 mm which was much more than last year’s July, which was 216.6 mm. They have also predicted that there will be regular rainfall in the month of August.