Power curtailment schedule
Days after the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta told the Power Distribution Companies (DisComs) that unscheduled power cuts were unacceptable, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation (KPDC)Ltd has come up with a fresh power curtailment schedule for district Srinagar with effect from Nov 15, 2022 both for metered and non-metered areas. As per the schedule, the metered areas would face power cuts for four hours and thirty minutes during 24 hours at different times while as in non-metered areas will face eight hour cut. Though nobody would appreciate any power cuts but given Kashmir electric power scenario, it is inevitable. However, it becomes irritating when the schedules are not followed and people suffer. It was in this backdrop that the Chief Secretary had asked the concerned to come up with the power curtailment schedule, publicise it widely and follow it in letter and spirit. Now that the concerned have issued the load-shedding schedule for Srinagar district. It should come up with the schedules for other districts too. It goes without saying in rural areas, people suffer the most of power front during winters. Even the metered localities in rural areas are not supplied the current as per announced schedules. Therefore it is the duty of the concerned that they ensure that this time round the schedule is followed strictly.
While power shortage during winters is a chronic problem as far as Kashmir is concerned, the present dispensation claims to have taken several major steps to stabilize the power supply. The winters are a test for the administration. Secondly, the concerned authorities need to be more communicative. Consumers are paying for the energy they use and therefore while on one hand the authorities should ensure that they get uninterrupted power supply, on the other hand, if it is confronted with some issues, it should take the consumers into confidence and explain to them the reasons behind curtailment. And also, once the load shedding schedule is announced, the authorities should make it sure that the same is followed in letter and spirit.
The other chronic problem that adds to the power woes is the misuse of energy. A large-scale power theft and misuse by the consumers, including government departments and security forces worsens the situation further. While as the government has to have a long term strategy to overcome the crisis and make sure that both the regions – Jammu and Kashmir – get sufficient power supply, particularly Jammu in Summers and Kashmir in Winters, the consumers too have to shoulder the responsibility. The consumers have to use the energy judiciously and people have to say no to power thefts. People have to ensure that they pay for all the units of the energy they use thus minimizing the losses that are being faced by the UT. Government, on its part should focus on infrastructure development and take steps to minimize the transmission, distribution, and commercial losses (T, D & C). Experts say that J&K records 65–70 percent transmission, distribution, and commercial losses which is many times higher than rest of the country. The national average in India is 20% and J&K’s is more than three times that figure. These high losses leave the government with little money to buy energy from the market to meet the increasing demand resulting in severe energy crises during the winter season.