Consumer associations have blamed the current power crisis on the state’s power generation company, Mahagenco, and its distribution arm, Mahavitaran. They said inefficiency and poor planning by these utilities and inept handling by the energy department caused the unforeseen electricity shortage in the state.
Pratap Hogade, president of the Maharashtra Power Consumers’ Federation, dismissed the state government’s claims that inadequate supply of coal affected generation in state-owned thermal power plants. “Except Khaparkheda and Parli (New), all other units have a coal supply, which is sufficient for five to 41 days,” Hogade told HT on Thursday.
Mahagenco managing director Subrat Ratho rubbished Hogade’s allegations. “Is Hogade an expert? We have coal stocks of poor quality and wet coal received during monsoon. We are using this coal to fire our plants,” Ratho told HT.
Hogade questioned Mahagenco’s efficiency in running its plants of the installed capacity of 7,220 MW. “We fail to understand why the company has never been able to generate 50% of the total generation capacity. On Wednesday, the thermal generation was above 3,000MW, which, if planned properly could easily be increased to 5,620 MW,” he said.
Mahavitaran has been unable to supply uninterrupted power to areas including Mumbai’s eastern suburbs Kanjurmarg, Bhandup and Mulund and satellite cities such as Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli and Vasai-Virar-Nalasopara. The state company, till Wednesday, faced a shortfall of 4,000-4,500 mega watts (MW) against a demand of 16,500MW. The situation improved marginally on Thursday with an extra 400 MW supply from the Centre.
President of Bharatiya Udami and Upbhokta Sangh president Raksh Pal Abrol blamed the crisis on mismanagement of government-run establishments. “People in the industrial sector are badly hit because of power cuts and a majority of them are small enterprises, that can not afford to have their own power generation plants,” he said.
Abrol said the private players, who were more efficient than their government counterpart, were forced to pay the cost of coal to the coal-producing organisations in advance and at a much higher price as compared to Mahagenco. Ratho ruled out any mismanagement and said Mahagenco was just 500MW short of targeted generation (4,000MW) in October.