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'Political will lacking in resolving serious power crisis in the country'
According to latest estimates of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) at least 17 states in the country could face power shortage during the current fiscal year which ends on March 2014.The CEA estimates say that among the 17 states, the worst hit would be the three southern states namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, with Tamil Nadu receiving less than three-fourth of its total electricity requirements.

The report by the CEA says that the southern region that comprises Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Union territory of Puducherry is likely to see a power deficit of 19.1% in 2013-14. During the last financial year of 2012-2013 there was a power deficit of 15.5%. The increase in the deficit is a clear sign of worsening power situation in the southern region.

Elaborating the main causes behind the power shortage in the 17 states, Director of Power Plus Consultant and Editor of Alok Tripathi, speaking to this citizen journalist , listed the the following reasons behind the worrisome power situation in the country.

1. Inadequate capacity addition with respect to the increase in demand, which leads to a power deficit of 13% in India.
2. Inadequate supply of coal and gas, which result in lower generation from already installed plants.
3. Inter-state transmission constraints, which hinders supply of power from surplus regions like North-east, and Chaittisgarh to deficit areas.
4. Poor function of Discoms and state utility which leads in poor planning for demand -supply
5. Hindrance in Open Access, which prevent consumer to buy power from generator of there choice.
The estimates by the CEA predict that Tamil Nadu could witness power deficiency up to a extent of 26.5%, the shortage in Kerala would be around 24.8%, Karnataka (23.2%) and Andhra Pradesh (9.1%). The union territory. The report says that Puducherry will have a electricity supply surplus of 9.9 per cent.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), which is the planning body for power sector, came out with the estimates on the basis of the gap in supply and demand calculated on million units basis. The projections have come at a time when almost the entire country is facing a situation of power crunch.

Tripathi said that the conditions in the power sector cannot be changed with a wave of magical wand, and it will require long term planning with some tactical moves to boost up the power scenario in the country.

He emphasized on the removal of red-tape for installing new centralized generating stations and policy for decentralized smart grids. He said that there is need to promote renewable energy through implementation of Renewable Revolving Fund (RRF) and Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs).

Further, Mr. Tripathi said that fuel availability for the power plants should be secured through international linkages and improving local mining and transport infrastructure. He added that there is need of investment in smart grids, in order to enable interstate transmission of power.

Last but not the least, Mr. Tripathi emphasized on the requirement of a political will that does not treat power as a tool to attract vote but as a necessity for growth.

According to the CEA report, apart from the southern states there are other states also from the various parts of the country which are projected to face a situation of power shortage in the present financial year. Punjab is supposed to face a electricity shortage of 19.7%, Assam (19.7%), Bihar (19%), Uttar Pradesh (18%), Arunachal Pradesh (17.7%), Uttarakhand (15.4%), Rajasthan (15.1%) and Tripura (13.5%). Maharashtra with a deficit of 9.8%, Goa (4.5%), Jharkhand (6.8%), Nagaland (5.6%) and Orissa (0.8%), are also expected to witness electricity shortages.

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