Telengana agitation cripples power supplies in Maharashtra

The ongoing agitation in the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh has crippled electricity supplies in Maharashtra, resulting in power cuts ranging from 12 to 16 hours in many parts of the state.

The state is facing a shortage of nearly 4,000 MW of power, as coal supplies to power plants from collieries in Andhra Pradesh have stopped for the past one week following the indefinite strike in Telengana region.

Coal supplies have also stopped to power plants of the National Thermal Power Corporation in other states, resulting in reduced supplies to Maharashtra. While most rural parts of the state are witnessing power cuts ranging from 12 to 16 hours, parts of Mumbai's suburbs and external suburbs, besides the satellite city of Navi Mumbai are facing cuts ranging from three to 13 hours daily.

Irate consumers have attacked offices of the state-owned power distributor, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd, setting fire or ransacking the offices in different parts, and even beating up employees. MSEDCL has nearly 20 million consumers across Maharashtra and in parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

However, consumers in Mumbai, who are serviced by other distributors including Reliance Power and Tata Power have not been affected, as these companies buy power from exchanges. Consumers in Mumbai, however, pay more for their electricity.

The state-owned utility has poor recovery rates as many consumers in other parts of the state default on their bills and are reluctant to pay higher tariffs for power bought from the exchanges.