Coal shortage trips power supply in Punjab

Updated on Apr 12, 2022 04:40 PM IST

540-MW GVK power plant at Goindwal Sahib shut with no coal to operate it, other thermal plants also operating with limited stocks as demand rises

Punjab slipped into a power crisis on Tuesday as the 540-MW GVK power plant at Goindwal Sahib was shut with no coal to operate it. (Representative image)
Punjab slipped into a power crisis on Tuesday as the 540-MW GVK power plant at Goindwal Sahib was shut with no coal to operate it. (Representative image)

Amid talk of 300 units of free electricity to each household, Punjab slipped into a power crisis on Tuesday as the 540-MW GVK power plant at Goindwal Sahib was shut with no coal to operate it. Besides, a 660-MW unit of the Talwandi Sabo power plant is also out of operation, cutting short the cumulative power generation by 1,200 MW.

Also read: Bhagwant Mann, Kejriwal meet on AAP’s ‘free electricity’ for Punjab poll pledge

Against the installed capacity of 5,680 MW of thermal power plants, only 3150 MW power is being generated as the Talwandi Sabo power plant also has critical coal stock. While one unit of the 1,980-MW Talwandi Sabo Power plant is out, the two were operating at reduced load and generating only 750MW as the plant has coal stock left for only one day of operation.

Rural areas reel under power cuts

With a shortfall of 1,200MW and the Talwandi Sabo plant operating at a third of its capacity, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has imposed unscheduled power cuts in the rural areas, particularly where the power theft is high.

The PSPCL, however, claims that there is no shortage and cuts have been imposed to avoid fire incidents in wheat fields.

According to data available, the GVK plant, which was grappling with coal shortage, went out of operation after its stock got over on Monday night. The plant sent SOS to the coal ministry, but didn’t get adequate supplies.

The Talwandi Sabo plant unit has been out of operation due to a technical snag. Sources said that it will take a few days to revive the unit.

Private plants give PSPCL jolt, as usual

“Like previous years, once again private thermal plants have given us a jolt. We pay them fixed charges for the entire year, but they fail to provide power when it’s required most, during summer. The management has already summoned officials of private thermal plants over their repeated failure to meet the demand during the peak season,” said a PSPCL official.

He said that the Talwandi Sabo power plant has only 1.5 days of coal stock left. The Ropar thermal plant has 9.7 days coal stock, while the Lehra Mohabbat plant has coal stock for 8.4 days left. The Rajpura thermal plant has 15.4 days of coal stock.

According to the guidelines, every plant that is 1,000 km away from the coal mine must have stock for 28 days of coal. However, to reduce the cost, the companies never fulfil this condition as coal prices have soared manifold.

Last week, PSPCL officials and state power minister Harbhajan Singh met the Union ministry of coal to increase supplies to power plants of Punjab.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A special correspondent, Vishal Rambani is the bureau chief at Patiala. He covers politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues, with several investigative stories to his credit.

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