Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has a brilliant plan for farmers struggling with frequent power cuts: consolidate all the load-shedding hours into one day, and then release uninterrupted power the next. Which means that there will be no power for one whole day so that there is enough power the next day.

    He made this announcement at a review meeting for drought-relief measures in Vijayapura district on Thursday, saying he wanted to deliver on his promise of uninterrupted power supply for farmers. He asked officials to run a pilot in North Karnataka.

    “There should not be any disruption in the power supplied to farmers,” he told officials. “As promised, they must be provided with power for five to six hours. In fact, there is a system in Maharashtra in which power is saved for an entire day, and the additional hours are added to the very next day’s power supply. The same model can be adopted here and implemented on a pilot basis in Vijayapura,” he said.

    This suggestion, however, has caught the Energy Department off guard. Many find it impractical to replicate the model in Karnataka, considering its infrastructure and power capability.

    A senior engineer with Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) said: “We can cut power for 24 hours, but it’s impossible to supply power for 24 hours straight without any interruption. There will be technical problems at feeder level that would scuttle the plan. While people may agree for power cuts, they may become rebellious if there are any power cuts during that 24-hour supply period.”

    Currently, on an average, every feeder trips at least 100-120 times in a month. “In a day, it trips at least 2-3 times due to heavy load and poor maintenance. All of us are aware of how efficient the maintenance system is in rural areas. As a result, management of the situation becomes difficult and it would have severe impact on water supply and lighting. You cannot expect people to finish off their work in 24 hours and sit idle for the next 24 hours,” said an independent power analyst from Bengaluru.


    A senior official from the Energy department said he was surprised at the suggestion. “We have no knowledge of CM’s direction. Karnataka and Maharashtra are radically different in the Energy sector. While farmers in Maharashtra pay for what they consume, in Karnataka it is provided free of cost. Average voltage across Maharashtra is more than 22 kV and above, while in Karnataka, it is still supplied through 11 kV network,” the official said, adding that they would seek a clearer picture on the announcement with CM’s office.

    To supply power for 24 hours straight, the state needs to be able to generate it. Energy can’t be stored; it has to be supplied as and when it is generated, explained an expert from the sector. “This being the case, how could one save power for 24 hours and utilise the same the very next day? While the Energy minister says there will not be any power cuts during summer, why is the CM looking to enforce 24-hour power cut at all? It is completely illogical.” Tony Perez Authentic Jersey

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