Srinagar: The Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL), much to the chagrin of the locals, is resorting to unannounced power cuts in the midst of Kashmir's protracted cold weather.
According to officials, in all 10 districts of Kashmir division, the situation is the same, where power outages have returned throughout the summer as well.
Although the Power Development Department (PDD) officials are coy regarding outages, official sources said, “Annoying outages are caused by fewer purchases of power being made due to bulging power bills which is draining J&K's exchequer."
According to a senior official, KPDCL is supplying over 50 percent more electricity, yet income generation has not increased.
"Aside from a small number of areas that are metered in Kashmir, J&K mostly relies on outside sources to meet local power consumption, therefore power thefts and pilferages continue to deplete the exchequer," officials said.
Officials stated that they are reviewing the situation and are optimistic that the power situation would improve, but they also urged the people to use electricity wisely.
Consumers from several parts of Kashmir have once again complained about power outages, blaming the unstable power supply for their miseries.
"The KPDCL has resorted to power outages since last week. Earlier they had altered the winter power curtailment plan, but the power outages had once more come back and put the public in a difficult situation," said Javid Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.
Power purchases continue to be a big drain for J&K's exchequer, as the union territory has spent a whopping Rs 55,254 crore on purchasing electricity from outside power companies in the last 10 years.
As per the official data accessed by Greater Kashmir, power purchase bills from outside power discoms have reached Rs 55, 254 crores in the last 10 years (2012-13 to 2021-22).
According to the data, the J&K government spent Rs 8197 crore on 16,207 million electricity units in 2021–2022 while 14,362 million units cost Rs 7047 crore in 2020–21.
In 2019-20, 13,345 million units were purchased for a cost of Rs 6987 crore.
Similar to this, power purchases totaled Rs 6561 crore in 2018-19, Rs 4844 crore in 2017-18, Rs 4752 crore in 2016-17, Rs 4803 crore in 2015-16, Rs 4719 crore in 2014-15, Rs 3959 crore in 2013-14, and Rs 3382 crore in 2012-13.
The data also shows an increase in money spent on purchasing power from outside of J&K.
“J&K pays the central government’s power distribution corporations, and other utilities an average of Rs 7500 crore per year for electricity, while the government only receives a pitiful Rs 3200 crore in annual power tariff payments from citizens, and businesses. It means annual power purchase losses of a record Rs 4300 crore. The government is paying 12 to 18 percent interest on the liabilities owed on account of power purchases, which has grown over time to Rs 14,200 crore,” said a senior PDD official said.