Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mysterious power loss

With soaring heat and perennial power cuts, the Department of Power Nagaland (DoPN) has found a novel way to address the problem by advising consumers to switch off all electrical appliances not used and also to restrict use of electrical appliances driven by induction motor on deep freezers, refrigerators and compressors of air conditions drawing 2.5 to 3 times the normal current. This is based on the belief that judicious use of electricity by consumers would have the desired effect – of significantly reducing power consumption and offset shortage of power. However, the well meaning and simplistic advice of the department needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. For one, indiscipline as the khushi-khushi syndrome has unfortunately become the bane of progress. It is to be noted that roads, power, agriculture and education are the tetra of progress and play crucial roles in the lives of the common people everyday. Nagaland has failed to deliver on roads and power, which play the biggest role in development. This summer, acute power shortage is due to non availability from sources due to insufficient water in the dams. Earlier during monsoon months, power cuts were explained as disruptions caused by falling trees on High Tension power cables. Again in winter, the explanation was the paucity of water in the reservoirs inhibit generation of power. When the dams have less water and so power generation is restricted. Over and above these perennial problems, Nagaland is also afflicted by the shortfall in revenue that has left huge deficit in revenue for as many decades. Nagaland requires around 180 MW of power which isn’t much in comparison with other states. However even for a small state with hardly any power generating capacity; the state has to entirely depend upon purchase of power. The loss is a big challenge to the capability of the planners in the DoPN as they need to find out ways and means on how to plug the loss and increase revenue collection. According to estimates, the DoPN is losing around 30% of power due to two factors- technical loss and commercial loss. Nagaland buys electricity worth around Rs.400 Crores annually which is re-soled to the consumers by the power department. However, the DoPN has been able to collect only around Rs.162 crores (As per 2019-2020). The revenue loss if translated into MW comes to around 30MW to 40 MW annually. Such a massive loss of revenue as well as power is a serious matter and it is strange that the government hasn’t decided to accord it utmost importance. Among districts, Dimapur has a huge power demand that is needed to power the economy but instead, fluctuations and long periods of power cuts have caused serious problems. At a time when the state is supposed to have achieved remarkable results going by the tall claims of the past decades, Dimapur, the so-called industrial and trade capital of the state remains without power for long hours.It has been over three decades that the Department of Power Nagaland(DoPN) has been lamenting about power loss but the very fact that it is still going on raises pertinent questions about the ability or inability of the department to check the perennial loss. Something needs to be done and the DoPN should start with providing pre-paid meters and guarantee adequate power instead of merely hoping on saving power when there is none.


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