Unscheduled power cuts
While mercury is dipping down with every passing day, Kashmir is facing unscheduled and un-announced power cuts in the length and breadth. While the concerned authorities, day in and day out, make tall claims of following the announced load-shedding schedule, the situation on the ground, particularly in rural areas tells a different story. This is happening despite the UT administration’s repeated assurances that in comparison to previous years, a better power supply will be ensured this winter. The administration has been speaking about massive improvement in power sector but what is happening on the ground doesn’t gel with these assurances. If there has been some improvement, why it is not reflecting on the ground? One may not disagree with the concerned authorities when they say that during peak hours, some consumers in non-metered areas indulge in power theft thus exceeding the load that results into unscheduled power cuts but the question is that who is stop this practice? If the concerned authorities are failing in establishing writ of the rule, why poor consumers, whose homes are metered and who are paying the bills religiously, should suffer? Why should commoners be victimised because the concerned authorities don’t have will to control the pilferage of power? The much bigger question is, why all the areas are not metered? If the authorities have failed to do so, why should people be made to suffer for this inefficiency.
Jammu and Kashmir, despite having huge potential to generate hydro electric power, given its water resources, has been facing a chronic power crisis from ages. While people in Kashmir face it in winters, people in Jammu division face the same crisis during summers. Winter is the time when Kashmir needs electric power the most and in summers, Jammu people need it more. However, fact of the matter is that these are the seasons when they face terrible shortage of power. Over the years thousands of crores of rupees have been pumped into to revamp J&K’s power distribution infrastructure, the Union Territory continues to top in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses at 60 percent, the highest in entire India. This means, Jammu and Kashmir is suffering a huge gap in the energy it puts into the system and the revenue (payment) it collects for this energy. According to the data by the Ministry of Power, Government of India, the former state had 60.46 percent AT&C losses in 2019-20. The losses are highest in entire India where the average losses in this category are 22 percent. As per the data, over the years thousands of crores of rupees have been spent in overhauling the transmission and destruction infrastructure besides taking to technical up-gradation by the J&K Power Developed Department. The end results are however appalling. While one would appeal to the consumers to use the electric power judiciously, the administration too has to gear up and come up with a long term plan to help UT to get rid of the chronic power crisis.