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Monday, October 20, 2008

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With demand growing, power utilities plump for energy-saving devices

Ramu Sarma | TNN

Hyderabad: Finding it difficult to meet the ever growing cost of subsidy and demand for energy from the agriculture sector, which consumes about 40 per cent of the total energy generated, the power utilities are planning to re-launch a massive campaign asking farmers to install energy-saving devices at their pumpsets.
They even plan to subsidise part of the expenditure that the farmer will have to incur. The power utilities are facing an uphill task of meeting a demand of about 9000 MW a day which is 16 per cent more than that in the corresponding period last year. Despite good inflows into reservoirs, keeping in view the need to save water to meet the drinking water requirements till June 2009, the hydel generation had been reduced to about 500 MW.
To meet the gap between de
mand and supply the power utilities are forced to buy from all available sources including naphtha power. Still they are left with no option but to go in for load shedding up to 400 MW a day. Officials, however, claim that as compared to the
entire southern region, load shedding in the state is the lowest. In Tamil Nadu the load shedding is around 1200 MW.
In view of this, the power utilities feel that unless the consumption of power from agriculture sector comes down, it would become near impossible to manage the situation. Sources say that as per of
ficial records there are 26 lakh pumpsets in the state. There would be another 5-6 lakh illegal connections. The subsidy for free power has also shown huge increase since 2004. From Rs 1,929 crore it has now gone up to Rs 6,625 crore in the current financial year. Energy-saving equipment on pumpsets would result in saving of about 800 MW, sources told TOI. If need be, the government should bear 85 per cent of the cost of replacement as one time subsidy, sources said.
In fact a proposal to replace agricultural motors with ISI-marked pumpsets, foot valves and capacitors was mooted in May 2007 and a campaign was launched during the Rytu Chaitanya Yatras but they had to be put on the backburner following opposition from the farmers. Senior officials are, however, skeptical about implementation of this proposal since the state would go to polls in another 4-5 months.


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