Power situation to improve as coal crisis resolved

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2014 07:49 IST

People in Punjab will soon enjoy uninterrupted power supply as there will be no more power cuts this summer. Owing to the rising power demand and the sowing of paddy that is set to begin from June 10, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has succumbed to pressure from the coal supplier.

The corporation has agreed to pay 6 crore per day as railway freight advance and an advance payment of
100 per tonne over and above the provisions of the coal purchase agreement, to resolve the coal crisis that had crippled the functioning of the corporation.

With this agreement, the coal supplier, Panem Coal Mines, has agreed to restore the coal supply to the PSPCL. The corporation had hired the company to dig out coal from its coal mine, Pachwara coal block in Pakur district in Jharkhand.

The coal supplier had With the coal supply restored, the PSPCL CMD has promised a power-cutfree summer.

The CMD said the PSPCL had made sufficient arrangement of power and with the increased hydel power generation this year, there would be no shortage of power during the paddy season. The coal supplier had stopped the regular coal supply from April 10, creating a crisis. The PSPCL was not willing to pay more, but it succumbed to pressure in order to meet the rising power demand for the paddy season.

Owing to the coal crisis, the power generation from thermal plants in April and May was reduced to half the installed capacity and last year’s generation, as most of the times the PSPCL kept half its thermal units closed to conserve coal.

From April 15, the PSPCL to supplying eight hours of power supply to farmers in Punjab. “There will be no power cut this summer except outage, if any, on account of maintenance or fault in the transmission and distribution system,” he promised with the rider, “In case there is a complete failure of monsoon, there could be some regulations.” has spent Rs 110 crore to buy around 305 million units of electricity under the short-term purchase agreement to meet the rising demand. Besides, an extra expenditure of Rs 10 crore was incurred to light up and douse the power plants, frequently.

Confirming that the coal issue had been resolved, PSPCL chairman cum managing director KD Chaudhri said they had agreed to the demands of the firm. He said there would be no financial burden on the consumers as the PSPCL would charge interest on advanced payment and the firm had assured them the normal coal supply from Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in view of the commitment by the coal supplier to provide six coal rakes daily, the PSPCL has asked the staff to start all thermal units. It takes five to six days for the coal to reach here, but the PSPCL has enough buffer stock to run all units.

A high-powered committee of the PSPCL had initially opposed the hike saying paying more would legally weaken the case in the arbitration proceedings which the Panem had invoked against the power corporation, demanding increased payments.

A senior PSPCL official, dealing with the decision, on condition of anonymity, said, “If this was to be done, then why did the PSPCL take so long? The PSPCL is responsible for the financial loss on account of the costly short term power purchase and suffering of consumers.”

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