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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Coal crisis worsens as stock at 2 plants reaches critical point

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, June 27, 2014
First Published: 10:36 IST(27/6/2014) | Last Updated: 10:42 IST(27/6/2014)

The delay in the monsoon is further set to affect the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which has already been forced to buy power from outside because of a coal crisis and the rising power demand.

After finalising the tender for buying 1,400 MW power for the month of July, the power corporation, anticipating a poor monsoon, has floated tenders for buying another 1,400 MW power for August.

The claims of surplus and cheaper power notwithstanding, the PSPCL is buying costly power from the power exchange to meet the paddy/summer season demand, which is bleeding the PSPCL white. The situation is so bad that the PSPCL is daily buying power for Rs. 11 crore from the short-term power purchase.

Besides, the PSPCL has spent Rs. 90 crore in the past 15 days by drawing more power through unscheduled interchanges from power exchanges.

This purchase is in addition to the 1,000 MW (240 LU) of short-term power purchase ranging from Rs. 3.35 to Rs. 3.75 per unit from June 10 to 20 and 1,300 MW (240 LU daily) of shortterm power purchase ranging from Rs. 3.35 to Rs. 4.07 per unit, costing Rs. 11 crore daily, from June 21.

The situation is set to worsen further owing to the coal crisis. The Lehra and Bathinda plants have been left with coal stock for only five to six days. When the coal stock dips below a week’s stock, it is termed critical. Thus, to avoid the situation the two units of Lehra and one unit of Bathinda plants have been shut down.

However, the situation at the Rupnagar plant is comfortable, which has a stock of coal for three weeks.

Contrary to the claims of the PSPCL that the issue of coal supply had been resolved with Panam and the normal supply had been assured by the firm from June 4, the corporation was not getting the regular supply. The firm is supplying on an average three rakes daily instead of six.

Sources said the chief secretary had convened a meeting of the power secretary and the PSPCL chairman cum managing director (CMD) to discuss the crisis.

PSPCL CMD KD Chaudhri could not be contacted for comment.

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