New Delhi: The government’s plans to create a sizeable cushion to tide over any power shortage that could arise during the Commonwealth Games (CWG) suffered a setback following a delay in commissioning two proposed units of 500MW each.
The government, which had initially envisaged surplus power availability of 1,200MW, is still confident that it will be able to manage demand.
According to documents reviewed by Mint, Delhi Transco Ltd and the state government had assessed 4,450MW of power demand in the Capital during the CWG in October. While the earlier anticipated availability of electricity was 5,650MW, giving Delhi a surplus of 1,200MW to tide over any eventuality, it has now emerged that Delhi will get a supply of 4,465MW, giving it a thin buffer of 15MW.
That’s “not enough surplus. There should be some spinning reserve for reliability purposes for an event of this nature”, said a Delhi-based power sector expert who did not want to be named. “It means that if one unit goes out of the system, there should be a provision for compensatory generation coming into the system.”
Power generation capacity totalling 1,000MW at Damodar Valley Corp.’s two projects at Mejia in West Bengal and Koderma in Jharkhand will not be commissioned as per the original estimated schedule, leading to the gap narrowing. However, the government is confident Delhi will have enough power to tide over demand.
“Additional demand for Commonwealth Games days is not so huge, but a lot of capacity has been planned,” power secretary P. Umashankar said. “Power is not a serious situation for the Commonwealth Games.”
The maximum demand for power ever seen by Delhi was 4,720MW on 1 July. The current demand has dropped as the temperature has fallen on account of monsoon rain. Delhi sees a 1,000MW demand variation during peak and off-peak hours.
“There is no need to connect the delay in the commissioning of capacity at Mejia and Koderma to the Games,” said Gurdial Singh, chairman of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s apex power sector planning body. “The standalone demand for the Games is hardly 200MW. We are anyway meeting the total demand of Delhi on a daily basis. As far as the Games are concerned, there won’t be any problem.”
While India’s power shortage during peak consumption hours—between 5pm and 11pm—is pegged at 12%, the major reason Delhi continues to suffer from shortages is because only 1,382MW of capacity is installed at the plants owned by the Delhi government or meant for it. This leaves the state vulnerable, especially in peak usage periods, when all other states are also scrambling to buy power.
However, analysts are hopeful that the Delhi power situation will be adequate to take care of its requirements.
“From an electrical standpoint, there is no concern as the Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) area is pretty well balanced between generation and load,” said Anish De, chief executive at energy consulting firm m,.