Kohima, Feb 13: In a concerning development, Nagaland finds itself grappling with a severe power crisis. According to a state official, the situation has reached alarming levels, primarily due to the underperformance of hydro generating stations.
According to Er Moa Aier, engineer-in-chief of the Department of Power, the Northeast region heavily relies on hydroelectricity, making power shortages a recurring challenge during lean seasons each year.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, he pointed out that this year’s shortages have been notably more acute, aggravated by the shutdown of a major thermal power station for maintenance purposes.
The officer shed light on the widening gap between power demand and supply. Over the years, while supply has been increasing steadily, the rate of demand escalation has outpaced it significantly. He compared how the peak demand for power in the region during the 1990s stood at a modest 60 MW, while the present peak demand has surged by a staggering 300% to reach 180 MW.
Despite efforts, he said that the availability of power during peak hours remains insufficient, hovering around 100MW only. Moreover, this growing disparity has led to a corresponding rise in the cost of power procurement, placing additional strain on the state’s resources.
In response to this crisis, he highlighted that the department has issued an earnest plea to consumers to exercise judicious usage of electricity and ensure timely payments of their monthly bills. Additionally, he appealed to village councils and the district administration to assist in clearing vegetation obstructing power transmission and distribution lines, as these interruptions often stem from such sources.
He underscored the gravity of the situation, as the state currently relies on imports for 90% of its power needs. In this regard, he urged any organization(s) not to disrupt power installations, as such actions would only disrupt the instability in the power supply.
As a long-term solution, he informed that the state government has authorised the purchase of additional power from the spot market outside the Northeast region on an emergency basis, although at a higher rate. However, he added that the availability of additional power in the spot market remains unpredictable, posing a challenge to mitigating the power crisis effectively.