13 October, Srinagar Unsettling information has emerged that, despite having a significant hydropower capacity, Jammu & Kashmir has spent an astonishing Rs 63,000 crore on electricity imports from outside gencos over the previous 11 years.
Greater Kashmir was able to acquire official statistics, which emphasise the ongoing issue of the area’s dependency on outside energy sources.
The power purchase costs from external power distribution firms (discoms), according to the official statistics, totaled Rs 63,000 crore for the fiscal years 2012–13 and 2022–23.
According to the latest current statistics, the J&K government spent more than Rs 8200 crore on buying power from outside sources during the fiscal year 2022–2023.
During the fiscal year 2021–2022, Rs 8197 crore was spent on 16,207 million power units, whereas Rs 7047 crore was spent on 14,362 million units.
13,345 million units were bought for Rs 6987 crore in 2019–20.
Power purchases were Rs 6561 crore in 2018–19, Rs 4844 crore in 2017–18, Rs 4752 crore in 2016–17, Rs 4803 crore in 2015–16, Rs 4719 crore in 2014–15, Rs 3959 crore in 2013–14, and Rs 3382 crore in 2012–13, continuing the pattern that was seen in previous years.
The data also shows a steady increase in costs over time for importing buying power from outside the area.
The ongoing power crisis in J&K has been blamed on a substantial funding imbalance between the Power Development Department’s (PDD) earnings and the money needed to make power purchases.
According to Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Gupta, the government recently borrowed Rs 31,000 crore to pay off unpaid electricity bills from outside power providers.
According to a senior official with the PDD, the J&K government’s liability of Rs 31,000 crore was mainly caused by large aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) losses, which were at a startling 55 percent.
The official said that J&K bought 20,400 million energy units during the previous fiscal year while discussing the power procurement issue.
It’s important to emphasise that, in accordance with the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with several generating firms, including Central and J&K Gencos, the government must pay for power purchases in advance. Failure to do so might result in power outages, he warned. “In the event of a shortage, we purchase electricity at excessive prices. We anticipate a 10% rise in consumption this year compared to last year (20,400 million units), which will be more than 22,000 million units.
The J&K administration has now set a goal to double the hydropower generating capacity from the current capacity of 3500 MW in the next few years.
“In this direction, five mega-hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 4134 MW have been approved for execution in cooperation with the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC): Ratle (824 MW), Kirthai-II (930 MW), Sawalakote (1856 MW), Dulhasti-Stage II (258 MW), and Uri-I Stage-II (240 MW). These projects are expected to cost Rs 34,882 crore, and once completed, J&K would have excess electricity. According to the official J&K government document, the delays in project implementation have been erased and their speed has quickened.