Anantapur: Unscheduled power cuts badly hit paddy yields

Anantapur: Unscheduled power cuts badly hit paddy yields

Also lead to increase in production costs

Anantapur: Unscheduled power cuts reduced summer paddy yields in Pamidi, Kanekallu, Garladinne and Gooty in the district. Power cuts are the inevitable result of power supply for agricultural power, but they turn into a major problem when they are unscheduled and unpredictable.

Unpredictability raises production costs and reduces crop yield. Rural sector faces power cuts and power cuts have become order of the day.

Farmers are being hit badly by power cuts during the paddy season. Horticulture crops are also worst affected due to power disruptions. Several villages across the district face two to three hour power cuts in the domestic sector, besides having irregular power supply to agriculture pumpsets.

Agriculture is not the only consumer category that receives subsidised electricity. Subsidy to other consumer categories, especially domestic consumers, is on the rise. Agricultural supply, metering and tariff revision should not be seen only from discom perspective. These issues need to be seen from a larger social perspective, which includes the need and situation of farmers, and incorporates an understanding of the agriculture as well as water sectors.

In spite of the setbacks, orders have been issued to continue the existing day-time power supply to the agriculture sector to ensure that the standing crops do not wither away as harvesting will be nearing completion by the end of April. As per the Central government guidelines, the State government is fixing meters for electric motors in agricultural lands, which will definitely burden the farmers financially. Besides, priority is being given to ensuring uninterrupted power supply to the domestic sector.

The steep increase in the price of coal from Rs 8,000 per tonne to nearly Rs 40,000 per tonne due to prevailing fuel shortage across India and the impact of Russia-Ukraine war on global supplies have become the critical issues being faced by the power utilities in Andhra Pradesh. There has also been a surge in demand for electricity because of summer, which resulted in a deficit of 50 million units (MU) per day. As a consequence, the Discoms had to resort to Emergency Load Relief (ELR). Though the AP energy secretary reiterated that the power outages are a temporary phenomenon, fear gripped that it will continue forever.

According to APGenco sources, the total energy demand in all sectors in 2018-19 fiscal year was 63,605 MUs, which increased to 68,905 MUs in 2021-22 financial year. The increase in domestic, industrial and agricultural categories was 32%, 6% and 16% respectively.

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