Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 22:
With the weatherman predicting no respite from the scorching heat any time soon, recurrent power cuts across Odisha has made life miserable for people.
While the Odisha government recently claimed that the state is power surplus and there would be no load shedding especially in the evenings, the ground reality, however, belies the claim.
All four state-owned power distribution companies—CESU, NESCO, WESCO and SOUTHCO – have defied the decision and gone ahead with power cuts, some times announcing them beforehand but mostly without any prior notice making things even more difficult for the people.
The mercury has forced people across Odisha to stay indoors as the Fahrenheit has been consistently breaching records since last two days.
Most of the areas in the capital city plunge into darkness making life miserable for people. There has been no respite from the sweltering heat and the frequent power cuts have added to the woes of the denizens.
The posh localities in the temple city—Unit-I, Unit-II—as well as areas on the outskirts of the city–GGP Colony, Udaygiri Vihar—have been experiencing outages every now and then.
The picture is even more precarious in other parts of the state. People in Puri, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Dabugaon and other parts across the state have been the worst affected due to power failures.
People remain indoors from as early as 6 AM till evening due to heatwave conditions prevailing in most parts of the state. While they confine themselves to their houses, elusive power and dim supply have compounded their problems.
“We are experiencing a horrible situation this summer as there are cuts every 5-10 minutes. When we call up power grid office, we get no response from them,” a resident of Jharsuguda said.
Notably, Jharsuguda recorded this season’s highest temperature with 45.8 degree Celsius today while as many as six cities recorded temperatures above 45 degrees.
On the other hand, officials say that the transformers are tripping due to overload. Besides, the demand has peaked with the increase in temperature as a result of which the situation has arisen.
As per reports, there are over 55 lakh power consumers in the state and four power distcos are providing services to them. For this, as many as 1.26 lakh power substations have been connected through 2 lakh KM power cables.
Interestingly, over 60 percent cables have not been replaced since they were laid over 40 years ago.
“The demand for power goes up to 3975 MW during peak hour and after midnight also the demand remains around 3500 MW. People are using air-conditioners and coolers during summer; so the demand has gone up. The power cuts are not a result of power shortage,” said GRIDCO Director (Commercial) Prashant Kumar Pradhan.
State Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das also replied on similar lines. “There is no shortage of power in the state. As the demand has increased due to intense heat wave conditions, the transformers are unable to bear the load,” he said.
According to reliable sources, the situation would remain so until the power infrastructure is upgraded. Consumers would continue to bear the crisis situation till the old power cables are changed and the transformers are replaced with high power units as per the requirements.