Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the state has nearly exhausted its power generation capacity from own sources with the huge spike in demand for electricity this year. The government, he said, is looking at options for meeting the extra power requirement and the situation has improved.
Replying to an adjournment motion on the power scenario on the first day of the autumn session of the state assembly, Mr Sarma said the state has witnessed a sudden increase in demand for electricity during peak hours.
“The peak hour demand was about 1,600 MW in 2018-19, it was at 1,800 MW in the next two years and reached 1,970 MW in 2022-23,” he said.
“This is the first time the demand touched 2,500 MW. Even I do not know what happened, it is unprecedented. The state is anticipating the peak hour demand to reach 3,000 MW next year and 4,000 MW by the time his government’s term ends in 2026,” he added.
The Opposition has attacked the government over the issue.
Earlier, moving the adjournment motion, Congress MLA Bharat Chandra Narah said the government should procure power from an open source to meet the demand.
The government has money for various schemes, including crores for a plantation drive. It can use some of the money to ensure that the people get electricity during such hot conditions, he further alleged.
“In Assam, the peak hour production is 250 MW and our peak our demand is 2,500 MW, so in the adjournment motion, we pushed the government for increasing our own power production,” said Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi.
The Chief Minister said while the government is analysing the reasons for the sudden spike, “People’s prosperity has contributed to it, along with increased business activities”.
As more industries are preparing to open factories in the state, the demand will further increase and the government is preparing to meet it, he added.
The opposition Congress has also attacked the BJP.
“In 2014, the BJP had promised 24-hour power. Now in Assam in 24 hours, there are 24 times power cut and if you don’t have money to purchase power, why are you spending over 4,000 crore on smart meters,” said state Congress chief Bhupen Borah.
The Chief Minister, however, clarified the issue in the in the adjournment motion.
“We have no more power generation capacity on our own unless we go for a coal-based plant in Margherita. But that is entangled in environmental issues and we have to look to protect our biodiversity as well,” he said.