Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 19 May 2024 3.51 PM IST

Rising heat and power consumption; government must start planning in advance


Kerala is scorching in extreme heat. The Indian Meteorological Department has warned that the heat is likely to increase till Friday. The only relief is the occasional isolated rain happening in some places. This in turn leads to heat build-up due to discontinuity. Experts say that the El Nino phenomenon, which has reappeared after eight years, is what is causing the temperature to rise so much. During the El Nino phenomenon of 2016, temperatures in some places in Kerala had reached up to 41.9 degrees Celsius. Similarly, this time also the temperature in Palakkad has crossed 41 degrees. The temperature in Kollam is close to 40 degrees. 40-degree heat is similar to the conditions in the Gulf.

If the temperature exceeds 40 degrees, it will lead to heat waves. Palakkad is already in an equivalent situation. If this situation occurs in another district, the state may have to officially declare a heat wave. It is natural for electricity consumption to increase in Kerala along with heat, but there has not been an increase in electricity consumption like this time to date. The peak consumption in previous years was around 80-85 million units. This time it has been above 100 million units for three weeks. Last Saturday, the consumption hit an all-time high of 108.22 units.

KSEB is facing the crisis and avoiding load shedding by buying power from outside. Anyway, we can be sure that there will be no load-shedding till the election is over. No government will take any action that will gain the hate of the voters during the election period. However, no ruling party will hesitate to take such drastic actions, even if it means gaining the hate of the people, once the election is over. It is likely to get warmer in the coming years due to climate change. Anticipating that, the board should plan ways to increase power generation now itself. Other than looking for short-cut solutions to the current crisis, the board does not think of long-term solutions.

During the Covid period, the electricity consumption in households had increased many times. At the same time, electricity consumption in government and private offices, industries, tourist centres etc. has reduced significantly. Even though COVID has passed, the way of houses functioning not only as homes but also as offices is yet to change completely. IT work is done day and night. So the AC usage will increase regardless of day or night. One solution to this is to promote solar power generation as much as possible. In Kerala, about two lakh people have applied for solar connection as part of the Prime Minister's Surya Ghar scheme. Majority of them have not been able to receive connection due to a lack of solar panels and other components. KSEB's approach to solar is also negative. If this is changed, half of the problems will be solved.

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