Monday, September 27, 2021

Power play

Feeding little energy/electricity and bulk of lies is how our Power Department have done it for the last many decades. Perhaps the Department doesn’t have any other option but to let it go as it has gone and like it is going for the simple reason that the rot has seemingly become irreversible. And there is every chance that things in our power sector are not going to improve for many years from now, although their claims may have us to believe otherwise. Now we know for quite a while that Nagaland has no electricity. Yet, the great irony of this place, which is being told has the potential to generate sufficient electricity, is the appalling magnitude of misinformation spread through official propaganda among the gullible in regard to the power scenario in the state. We are being told that daily power requirement of the state is around 473 MW, but availability is 348 MW. But what we don’t know is that to meet the entire 473 MW daily requirement we must have about 800 MW available with us. Ask how? The answer is you have to have a 60% provision for Transmission and Distribution Losses (T&D losses). That simply means when you are able to pool 800 MW, then only you can cater to the demand of 473 MW and see 327 MW happily going waste on T&D losses. But do they get 800 MW to feed the people with 473 MW? Absolutely not! Then how do they manage? That shows their deftness and dexterity and characterizes our torment and agony. They purchase about 400 MW against the daily demand of 473 MW. Here comes their first trick. They say it is 400 MW, which it actually and practically is not. They deliberately miss to mention T&D losses. Deduct that (whopping 60%) and the total pool shrinks to just about 160 MW against the daily demand of 473 MW. Now see their deftness. They feed 160 MW into the system and expect yields for 473 MW! To overwhelm us they say this year they anticipate incurring Rs 452 crore expenditure on electricity purchase against an expected revenue of about Rs 175 crore (as stated by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio during the discussion on ‘Power Reforms’ in the recently concluded state Assembly session). Who will tell them that in the Rs 452 crore power purchases, at least 60% – around Rs 271 crore in money terms – accounts for T&D losses alone? What remains there is Rs 181 crore worth power. Against this Rs 181 crore they anticipate Rs 175 crore revenue; of course not a bad deal even if they miss their target by around Rs 6 crore. Now let us see the problem from another angle. Say they have power sufficient to cater to around 40% demand or in other words 40% population of the state. But they know if they will feed the power only to 40% population, by no stretch of imagination they can lay claim on power bill from the rest 60%. Then what they do? They reduce the voltage, resort to scheduled curtailment, unscheduled cuts so as to be able to distribute this small amount among the entire population to have a claim on bill from the entire population. Now if rendering the entire 60% population out of power is not practical, here is another thing they could do. They can give month-wise power to different districts. If they have the capacity to feed two or three districts 24/7 at a time, let them begin by that. Let other districts fend for themselves till they get their turn to get the power. But they won’t do that. Ask why? The answer is all those districts which will remain in darkness for months won’t be legally liable to pay power bill for the period of darkness. These are not hypothetical examples. They can really be put into practice, but they will not and don’t ask why. Clearly there is a need to explore some simple ways so that we get power. If poor in India can demand rice at Rs 1/kg for their vote to a party, why cannot we take away the wind from the sails of our political parties who keep on exploiting us with empty big slogans like for example facilitating the ‘Indo-Naga political talks’ that we all know is not within their domain or competence, even if they really wish so; and ask them to deliver things that they can.