Srinagar, Nov 20: In a worsening power crisis in Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir-owned power projects are struggling, with generation dropping by over 80 percent to a mere 200 MW out of the total installed capacity of 1197 MW due to less water discharge in rivers.
Shockingly, as per the Power Development Department (PDD) officials, the authorities are reluctant to increase power purchases from external power generating companies (Gencos) to meet electricity requirements in Kashmir.
In J&K, there are two different kinds of power projects: one is under the central sector and owned by J&K.
According to the PDD’s response to this correspondent’s RTI, Jammu and Kashmir has 13 projects that are run and maintained by JKPDC and have a combined capacity of 1197.4 MW for electricity production.
These 13 power projects, operated and maintained by JKPDC, include Baghilar-1 and Baghilar-2, boasting a combined 900 MW capacity, situated in the Chenab Basin.
LJHP and USHP-11 Kangan, with a capacity of 105 MW each, are located in the Jhelum Basin.
The remaining nine projects have capacities below 30 MW.
The Central sector’s six projects, managed by NHPC, contribute a total of 2250 MW, with notable ones like Salal (690 MW), Uri-1 (480 MW), and Dulhasti (390 MW).
However, the power-starved region receives only over 500 MW, occasionally dropping below 350 MW.
“Despite an estimated 3350 MW power generation capacity in J&K, currently we receive only 200 MW from UT-owned projects and 350 MW from central ones,” a KPDCL official said. “The winter exacerbates the issue due to reduced river discharge, a known phenomenon which reduces the power generation capacity drastically of all power projects in J&K.”
However, the official said that the authorities were unwilling to buy more power from external sources to meet demand.
Over 2 lakh smart meters in Kashmir have failed to shield metered areas from power cuts.
The region’s staggering 55 percent AT&C losses compound the problem.
Ironically, no new power project has been commissioned in J&K recently which could boost power generation.
Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited (CVPPPL), a major player, has disclosed no recent project has been commissioned in recent times, exacerbating the crisis.
Consumers, metered or not, bear the brunt.
Umar Ahmad, a Srinagar resident, voiced frustration saying, “There is no difference between metered and non-metered areas.”
The power crisis has far-reaching implications, affecting businesses and leaving critical medical equipment, like oxygen concentrators, inoperable.
As the power crisis deepens, the government faces increasing pressure to address the systemic issues, from ageing infrastructure to resistance against external power procurement, jeopardising the well-being of residents and the local economy.