Unrestricted power demand forces KPDCL to start load shedding

Unrestricted power demand forces KPDCL to start load shedding
A woman holds candle as she cooks rice on gas stove in the absence of electricity in Srinagar amid curtailments during winters.File: Mubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: Come winter, people in Kashmir face prolonged and unscheduled power cuts, however Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) puts onus on use of ‘crude heating gadgets’ forcing them to resort to load shedding.

Consumers complain that despite the KPDCL announcing power curtailment schedule of 1.5 hours in metered areas and 3 hours in non-metered areas, yet the corporation does not adhere to the schedule and resort to power cuts.

The business community and industrialists too are bearing the brunt of these power cuts as it means a business loss to them.

Same concern is raised by the business community who suffer losses due to power cuts as their work suffers.

“Each time unscheduled power cuts take place, my work suffers as a result of which I incur business losses,” said Basharat Ahmad, a businessman who runs a mobile repair shop.

However, officials at KPDCL have a different tale to narrate. They put the blame on consumers for ‘using crude heating gadgets, power thefts etc’ as reason for power cuts. As per the KPDCL officials, unrestricted demand has crossed over 2000 MWs while the KPDCL has capacity to supply only over 1600 Mws of electricity in Kashmir.

“We are collecting the same amount of revenue which we did last year, but our energy supply has increased by over 11 per cent. One fails to explain this phenomenon. It is mainly due to power pilferage, thefts taking place. Once the smart meters are installed you won’t face any power cuts," said an official.

Chief Engineer, KPDCL Distribution, Aijaz Ahmad Dar said that the people have to cooperate. “They should use power judiciously, totally avoid use of crude heating gadgets to enable KPDCL serve them better.”

While divulging the figures of power supplies, Dar said “ Last year in November we were supplying 219 lakh units of electricity, this year we are supplying 325 lakh units thereby an average of 10 to 12 percent in energy supplied.”

Last year, in the first ten days of November, we supplied around 2955 lakh units of electricity, while this year we have supplied 3240 units of energy which is considerably much higher than the previous year.”

He said that there is clear cut direction from the Lieutenant Governor to ensure quality power supply to consumers. "We are working hard to ensure it but people have to cooperate. We have issued directions to our staff to ensure power curtailment schedules are adhered and no area should face any unscheduled power cuts," Dar said.

Dar said that the corporation has taken all possible measures in view of winter. He urged people to use KPDCL's helplines to get their grievances redressed.

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