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The Discom Story: There’s pain and it ain’t new

Turning the distribution business around should be the core priority of policymakers. Till that happens, power shortages will remain a recurring problem and not an aberration.

April 30, 2022 / 12:07 PM IST
Every single agency or stakeholder in the value chain of power supply — from coal miners and the railways to generators and electrical equipment vendors — are impacted by the viability of discoms

Every single agency or stakeholder in the value chain of power supply — from coal miners and the railways to generators and electrical equipment vendors — are impacted by the viability of discoms

This summer, power outages have come back to haunt us.

Some state discoms, which were earlier in denial mode, have now admitted to curtailing electricity supply. Some have branded load shedding as ‘power holidays’, while some others are managing the demand-supply mismatch under the guise of routine summer maintenance.

Different stakeholders have offered different reasons about what has caused this crisis. Those reasons include an increase in demand due to an early and harsh summer, the rise in economic activity, bottlenecks and limitations in transportation of coal from mines to power plants, the unfortunate timing of planned/unplanned maintenance shutdowns of power stations, as well as the high prices of imported coal and natural gas as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.

These reasons may be mutually exclusive but are not collectively exhaustive. That is, while they do provide a sense of what is causing strained supplies in the immediate term, they miss highlighting what is at the core of the power shortage issue in India.