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Apr 18, 2013 at 08:48am IST

AP reels under acute power crisis despite crores being spent on plants

Hyderabad: The Opposition in Andhra Pradesh has been accusing the state government of mismanagement as the state reels under power crisis. The question that remains to be answered is as to why the state is facing its worse energy crisis in 40 years despite crores being spent on setting up power plants.

In spite of an installed capacity of 3,800 Megawatts, Andhra Pradesh produces just 500 Megawatts, buying power for over Rs 12 rupees per unit. On the state's east coast, several thermal power projects have stopped production. The question is as to what has gone wrong.

At the Lanco power plant in Krishna district, officials say the gas supply from the celebrated KG basin has been falling and in the past six weeks they have received no gas at all. With no alternative in place, this plant produces just 150 MW instead of its full capacity of 1,400 MW.

State energy department sources say a whopping 55 million units are being lost per day due to the shutdown of the Reliance operated D6 block of KG basin, forcing power plants dependent on it like GMR, GVK, Gauthami and Lanco to halt production. The government is trying to source alternate fuel such as Naptha and RLNG by spending another Rs 545 crore this year, but this has led to power tariff hike. Opposition parties blame the government for the lack of foresight.

The power crisis is also affecting irrigation. 31 irrigation projects, many of them in parched Telangana, are nearing completion, which would need over 200 million units of power per day to pump water. With no power to support these irrigation schemes, farmers in Telangana will continue to suffer.

Andhra Pradesh is also not connected to the country's northern and eastern power grids, a problem that the Chief Minister is to address by the year end, but until then the state will have to dwell in darkness. Almost six thermal power plants are lying idle near the east coast of Andhra Pradesh due to non-availability of gas. If allotted sufficient power, these plants have the capacity to meet the power deficit of the state. But with no gas inputs expected any time soon, officials say they have no option but to pull the plug on power generation.