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India facing power crisis after rain, movement of coal, production stalled in private plants

An energy crisis is brewing in some states, including Delhi and Punjab, as a combination of factors such as excess rainfall affecting coal movement and imported coal-fired power plants producing less than half their capacity due to record-high rates because of.

In a year when the country produced record coal, the rains affected the movement of fuel from mines to power generation units, affecting power generation in several states including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

While power producers and distributors have warned of blackouts as production units are running less than two days, the coal ministry said the country has sufficient coal reserves and low inventory does not mean production will stop as stocks is being continuously replenished.

Another factor that has contributed to the current crisis is that power plants that use imported coal to generate electricity have either reduced production or shut down entirely as international energy prices soar. has made it difficult for them to meet the commitments of the states at a particular rate. .

Tata Power, which has signed contracts to supply 1,850 MW of power to Gujarat, 475 MW to Punjab, 380 MW to Rajasthan, 760 MW to Maharashtra and 380 MW to Haryana from its imported coal-fired power plant at Mundra, Gujarat , is closed. generation.

Adani Power’s Mundra unit is also facing a similar problem.

Power plants across the country controlled production after stocks ran low. Against the need to maintain a stock of 15 days to 30 days, more than half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which supply nearly 70 per cent of the country’s total electricity, have less than two days’ shelf life. There is fuel stock. Data from grid operator.

However, the Coal Ministry said that the stocks reported by the power plants are rolling stock, which means that the stock is being replenished day by day.

“The mines have coal reserves of around 40 million tonnes and power plants have reserves of 7.5 million tonnes,” a top ministry official said. “Drainage from mines to power plants has been an issue as mines get flooded due to excessive rainfall. But now it is being sorted out and the supply to power plants is increasing.”

Tata Power Distribution Limited (TPDDL) – which supplies electricity to parts of the national capital – on Saturday warned of intermittent power cuts as units supplying power to Delhi discoms have a power cut of 1-2 days. It has coal stocks to meet production requirements, said its CEO Ganesh Srinivasan.

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal Wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on whether Delhi may face a “power crisis”. “I am personally keeping a close watch on the situation. We are trying our best to avoid it,” Kejriwal said.

A Tata Power spokesperson said, “We have stopped production at Mundra as the high cost of imported coal has made it impossible to supply under the existing PPA conditions.”

Adani Power did not immediately comment on the issue.

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) also cited the same reason for imposing 3-4 hours load shedding at many places in the state. Rajasthan is resorting to one hour power cut every day.

Power supply has also been affected in Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh due to the coal crisis.

PSPCL said two units each at Talwandi Sabo power plant, Ropar plant and one unit at Lehar Mohabbat, 475 MW plant have been shut down.

In Rajasthan, electricity is being supplied for an hour daily, while the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) said power will be suspended in parts of Chennai to carry out maintenance work in the city.

Jharkhand and Bihar are also the worst affected by the shortage of coal. In Andhra Pradesh, acute supply shortages were pushing it towards unscheduled power cuts, saying crops could dry up if electricity was not supplied to irrigation pumps.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, in a letter to the Prime Minister, said, “The final stage of harvesting requires more water and if this is denied, the fields dry up and farmers suffer. “

In Odisha, the industry was facing shortage of coal and had petitioned the state government to ensure adequate supply of fuel.

The crisis in the states has been going on for months. After a deadly second wave as India’s economy picked up COVID-19The demand for electricity increased rapidly. Electricity consumption has increased by about 17 percent in the last two months alone as compared to the same period in 2019.

At the same time, global coal prices rose 40 per cent and India’s imports fell to a two-year low.

Despite having the fourth largest coal reserves in the world, the country is the second largest coal importer in the world.

Power plants that were usually import-dependent are now heavily dependent on Indian coal, adding further pressure to already domestic supplies.

An Inter-Ministerial Sub-Group headed by the Ministry of Coal is monitoring the coal stock position twice a week. In order to manage the coal stock and ensure equitable distribution of coal, Ministry of Power has constituted a Core Management Team (CMT) which is closely monitoring and managing the coal stock on daily basis and Coal India Limited and Ensuring follow-up action with Railways. To improve the supply of coal to power plants.

Coal dispatches by Coal India Ltd touched 1.501 million tonnes on October 7, bridging the gap between consumption and actual supply, sources said, adding that dispatches to the power sector will be increased to 1.6 million tonnes per day over the next three days. And will try to do 1.7 after that. Lakhs of tonnes are being tried.

Sources cited four reasons for the shortfall in coal stocks at the power plants – unprecedented rise in power demand due to the revival of the economy, heavy rains in the coal mine areas during September, impact on production as well as dispatch, prices of imported coal. increased to unprecedented high levels, leading to a substantial reduction in power generation from imported coal-fired power plants, and not building up sufficient coal stocks before the onset of monsoon.

The daily consumption of electricity has exceeded 4 billion units per day.

Indonesian coal’s imported coal price rose to $160 from $60 a tonne in March, resulting in a 43.6 percent reduction in power generation from imported coal, leading to additional demand for 17.4 million tonnes of domestic coal during April-September.

The Ministry of Power on Friday issued guidelines for operating the generating stations for optimum utilization as per the requirements in the power grid. He said that these guidelines will enable imported coal based plants (having enough coal) to operate and reduce the burden on domestic coal.

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