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Virendra Singh Rawat

The All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) has demanded that heatwave be declared a national calamity in view of rapidly increasing demand for electricity in the prevailing conditions of extreme heat.

AIPEF, which has a membership of nearly 1.5 million pan India, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare heatwave as natural calamity like floods and cyclones. The letter has also been forwarded to the chief ministers of all the states and the union territories (UT).

According to AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey, extreme heat particularly in Northern India has triggered peak power demand in the northern states.

He warned that the power demand has breached the estimates of the union power ministry, and is likely to go upward in coming months as paddy sowing shall be in full swing from mid June 2024.

On May 30, 2024, the northern region logged a record demand, reaching an all-time high of 86.7 gigawatt (GW). During the month, the maximum power demand crossed 29,000 megawatt (MW) in UP; 14,000 MW in Punjab; 12,000 MW in Haryana; and 8,300 MW in Delhi.

As such, India’s power demand rose to a new record peak while electricity consumption reached 250 GW, breaching the previous high of 243.3 GW clocked in September 2023, he added.

“In view of the above, the AIPEF has requested the PM to declare the present heatwave as a national calamity like floods, cyclones etc and take urgent measures to tackle the situation,” Dubey underlined.

Some of the measures suggested by AIPEF include: the office timings should be changed to 7 am to 2 pm, while all the commercial establishments, malls, shops etc should be closed by 7 pm.

Moreover, peak load restrictions should be imposed on industry and power theft should be covered under the National Security Act (NSA).

Free power as a state policy should be stopped forthwith, and states should ensure sufficient capacitor banks working on their substation to keep the power factor around 0.95.

The paddy sowing date should be shifted to June 25 along with the ban on water guzzling varieties like PUSA44 with concomitant encouragement to varieties like PR126, Basmati etc which mature in 90 days and give 40 percent higher monetary returns per acre.

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