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

New Delhi, 9 October

Energy crisis is brewing in some states, including Delhi and Punjab, as excess rainfall is affecting coal movement and imported coal-fired power plants producing less than half their capacity due to record high rates.

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.

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While power producers and distributors have warned of a blackout as production units are running with coal stocks for two days, the coal ministry said the country has sufficient coal stocks and low inventory does not mean that production should stop Because the stock is being replenished continuously.

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 on a daily basis.

“There are about 40 million tonnes of coal reserves in the mines and 7.5 million tonnes in power plants,” 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 power 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, its CEO Ganesh Srinivasan said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the “power crisis” that Delhi could face. “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.

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

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) also cited the same reason for imposing 3-4 hours load shedding at many places in the state. 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.

Rajasthan is resorting to one hour power cut every day. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) said power would be cut off 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. As India’s economy boomed after the second deadly wave of Covid-19, the 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. PTI

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