Bangalore, Jan 13 (IANS) Karnataka will purchase about 1,000MW of power daily from other states and private producers to meet the growing demand over the next two years, state higher education minister V.S. Acharya said Friday.
"We are bracing up to tide over the shortage in summer and meet the growing demand for power from all sectors - agriculture, industries and retail consumers during ensuing fiscal (2012-13) and next fiscal (2013-14)," Acharya said after the state cabinet approved the power purchase plan at an average cost of Rs.2,650 crore per annum.
The state-run utilities will buy power at Rs.4.87 per unit and at Rs.5.81 per unit during peak hours as it had tied up with central grid and private producers during this current fiscal (2011-12).
"As the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has estimated that the state would require 5,000 million units per annum over the next two years, we will bid for short-term and long-term supply at a minimum rate of Rs.3.75 per unit and a maximum rate of Rs.5.08 per unit," Acharya said.
The state government purchased 1,000mw per day between Sep 2010 and May 2011 at a whopping cost of Rs.3,847 crore.
With demand shooting up during summer across the semi-arid state, the government plans to buy an additional 300mw daily to reduce power cuts in urban, semi-urban and rural areas from March to May.
"Purchase of additional energy is enabling us to supply power for 24 hours in Bangalore and 23 hours in other major cities across the state, while it is for 12 hours of single-phase and six hours of three-phase in the rural areas," Acharya pointed out.
In the absence of fossil fuel reserves such as coal and natural gas, a power-starved Karnataka depends heavily on monsoon-dependent hydel sources to generate about 65 percent of the total power, with thermal stations at Raichur and Bellary in the northern region of the state contributing about 30 percent. The remaining power is generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and captive units.
As against installed capacity of 6000mw, the demand varies between 7,000-7,500mw during non-peak and peak seasons.
"We are maintaining adequate water level in all reservoirs to generate about 40 million units per day during the ensuing summer months and minimise hardship to people by avoiding prolonged power cuts," Acharya asserted.
The state government is hoping to secure 600mw from the second unit of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) in the ensuing fiscal and commission the second 500mw at the Bellary thermal power station by April.
"The environment and forests ministry has permitted the state to set up a 400kva transmission line between Padubidri in Udupi district and Hassan through the Western Ghats for evacuating power from the second unit of the private-run UPCL," Acharya added.
The new transmission line will be set up at a cost Rs. 400 crore by March this year to supply an additional 12 million units per day at Rs.3.71 per unit. The UPCL's first unit of same capacity (600mw) is supplying 12 million units to the state grid.