8 hours uninterrupted power supply ensured to farmers for paddy season without imposing cuts on other sectors: Power Minister
Chandigarh: Recalling the power sector achievements on the completion of one year of Punjab government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Power Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO said that with the decision of state government for providing free electricity of 600 units bimonthly/300 units monthly to all domestic consumers from July 1, 2022 onwards, for the first time around 90% domestic consumers in the state have been receiving Zero Electricity Bills. He said that efforts are being made to increase power generation in future.
Power Minister added that State Government has also launched the voluntary disclosure scheme for regularization of extension in load for Agriculture Tubewell Connections from June 10, 2022 onwards at the concessional rate of Rs. 2500/- BHP instead of Rs 4750/- BHP and under this scheme 1.96 Lac farmers have increased 8 Lac BHP load of their motors and saved Rs. 180 Cr. by availing the benefit of this scheme.
While highlighting the achievements of power generation sector, the minister said that despite the nationwide coal crisis during 2022, Punjab has met its all-time highest ever peak demand of 14,311 MW on June 29, 2022 and record energy demand was also met during last summer season from April to September 2022 which is 13% higher in comparison to the same period of last year (2021) (i.e 43,149 MUs vs 38,204 MUs).
The Power Minister also added that overall energy demand met during the current financial year from April, 2022 to February, 2023 is also more by 12% from last year’s corresponding period (i.e 64,952 MUs vs 57,765 MUs). He also said that with the optimum utilization of its own resources, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited has increased its own Thermal and Hydel Generation during this year (April to February, 2023). The Thermal Generation from GGSSTP, Ropar and GHTP, Lehra Mohabbat has increased by 123% from last year (6,940 MUs vs 3,108 MUs). Similarly the Hydro Generation from PSPCL own projects has also increased by 24% (3,863 MUs vs 3,112 MUs) from last year. Ranjit Sagar Hydro Power project has also achieved its all-time record maximum generation of 149.55 Lakh Units (LUs) in a single day on 22nd August 2022, since its commissioning in 2000. All these concerted efforts by PSPCL helped in providing 8 Hrs. regular supply to agriculture consumers during paddy season (year, 2022) without imposing any power cut on any other category of consumers.
The Minister further added that to increase the within state generation capacity, construction work of Shahpurkandi Power Project (206 MW) on River Ravi is going on war footing and its 95.41% Excavation and 81.08% Concreting Work of main dam has been completed. He said that with the completion of this project, in addition to an increase in power availability, distribution of water in the state will also be improved. He further said that PSPCL is making continuous efforts for increasing the share of Renewable Energy in the Total Energy Mix to achieve the sustainable development goals set at national level for clean and affordable energy by 2030 and is striving hard to meet its RPO targets as a promoter of clean energy. To achieve this 500 MW SECI Hybrid Power and 300 MW NHPC Solar Power started flowing in the PSPCL system during the year 2022 and further Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) of 400 MW Solar Power have been signed. The process of procurement of 1000 MW Solar Power from projects anywhere in India and 200 MW from projects within Punjab is also under process. Similarly, procurement of 1100 MW of Solar Power under CPSU scheme is also in pipeline.
Power Minister further said that on the directions of Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Bhagwant Mann, PSPCL has taken the issue of Pachhwara Coal Mine with the concerned quarters and managed to overcome the challenges in starting operations of Pachhwara Coal Mine which remained closed for past seven years due to certain legal issues. Chief Minister Punjab received first rake of coal at GGSSTP Ropar on December 16, 2022 and till date 2,98,000 MT coal has been produced and about 76 rakes have been dispatched to PSPCL Power Stations. He said that regular coal supplies from Pachhwara Central coal mine shall help thermal power stations of Punjab in meeting the deficient coal supplies from CIL sources and Public of Punjab will be most benefited due to cheap power on account of lesser coal cost.