Power minister assures 24X7 power supply from January 2017
Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, reviewed the power scenario of the state and issued directives to improve the same as frequent power cuts have been taking place in the city as well as in other parts of the state although the former power minister assured in January last that the state will get 24X7 electricity.
The chief minister, while taking stock of the power scenario, said that the subsidiary companies of the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) should intrinsically be associated with the lives of the people of the state and must envisage innovative ideas to make Assam a power-surplus state. He also asked the power department to focus its attention to chalk out measures to reduce transmission and distribution loss and connect its schemes with the lives of the people of Assam.
Moreover, state power minister Pallab Lochan Das, while explaining about the power scenario of the state, said that the main cause of load shedding is the power distribution and not power generation. “In Assam the requirement of power in peak hours is 1,400-1,500 MW while off-peak hour requirements range from 1,000-1,100 MW. From Lakuwa replacement project 250 MW of power is being produced,” said Das.
He further said that the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) is yet to recover its full arrear bill amount, including that of government consumption, to the tune of Rs 650 crores though it has received Rs 400 crores till date. The minister said that by coming December the problems of the electricity board will be solved, by January 2017 it will be regulated and people will get 24X7 electricity.
The minister also said that solar panels will be set up and so designed as to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating. The land for installation of solar panel is yet to be identified and the government will approach the private residential buildings and government buildings for the installation of the same.
Sonowal also took a stock of the status of the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in the state and asked the implementing agency to complete the execution on a priority basis. He also asked the power department to formulate ways and means to develop a quality maintenance legacy in the state so that the power department lifts its impression as a credible department in Assam. The chief minister also asked the concerned bodies to professionally render their services in transmission and distribution as a lot of hitches in the power sector emanates from transmission and distribution. The chief minister, while taking stock of the status of all the power generating stations of Assam, enquired about their share in the total energy requirement of the state. He also sought to bring in revolutionary changes in a time-bound manner in the service delivery system and revenue generation of the power department.
The operational power plants in Assam include Ranganadi Hydro Power Project (406 MW), coal-based Bongaigaon Thermal Power Project (250 MW), natural gas-based Kathalguri Power Project (291 MW), Kopili Hydro Power Project (225 MW), multi-fuel Chandrapur Power Project (60 MW), gas-based Lakwa Gas Turbine (157.2 MW), Namrup Project (116 MW) and Karbi Langpi Hydro Power Project (100 MW), among others.
This apart, Unit-II of the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Project, with a capacity of 250 MW, is under construction. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in April 2017.
The 70 MW Namrup Gas Turbine is also under construction but has missed the deadline of commissioning of the project in September 2011 which is now scheduled to be completed in September 2016. The project that was scheduled to be commissioned in 2020-2021 is the controversial 2000 MW Subansiri (Lower) Hydro Power Project which has currently been halted.
Meanwhile, the Central Electricity Authority has identified power potential of the North Eastern Region at 58,356 MW. Arunachal Pradesh has the highest potential of 50,064 MW, while Assam’s hydro power potential is pegged at 650 MW. Arunachal Pradesh is followed by Meghalaya and Manipur with the power potential of 2,298 MW and 1,761 MW respectively.
The power minister also blamed the Congress government for failing to improve power generation and also alleged that the infrastructure development in the power sector was almost non-existent. It is due to the poor quality work and less work which the contractors do of the work allotted to them by the former government for the development of the power infrastructure. On providing seamless power in a city like Guwahati, the minister assured that the denizens of the city will get 24 hours power supply in the first part of 2017 and it is not that there is no availability of power in the city but due to the transmission and generation the city is facing such problem.
Along with Guwahati, infrastructure development in power sector has been undertaken in 67 other towns of the state and if all these works are completed the power scenario will improve. The state BJP in its Vision Document had promised to provide 24X7 power supply in the state but only time will tell how successful the BJP-led alliance government will be in improving the state’s power situation after the completion of the work.
Citizens to get 24 hours power supply from January 2017
Transmission and generation main problem of power cuts
Central Electricity Authority has identified power potential of the North Eastern Region at 58,356 MW
Requirement of power ranges from 1,400-1,500 MW in peak hours
Requirement of power ranges from 1,000-1,100 MW in off-peak hour
APDCL yet to recover full bill arrear amount from the departments