War of words as NTPC says Delhi only using 70% of power provided, Jain denies
A day after Delhi power minister Satyendar Jain complained that the national capital was only getting about 50% of its scheduled electricity from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited, the Union power ministry and the NTPC hit back and said Delhi was using only about 70% of the electricity that was being made available to it daily.
“The NTPC has been making available the required power to Delhi. Data from October 1 to 11 shows that Delhi’s distribution companies (discoms) have been scheduling only 70% of the power that has been made available by us,” said a spokesperson of NTPC Limited, the country’s largest state-run electricity producer.
Data shared by the corporation showed that on Monday, 2,285MW was provided by NTPC, of which 1,617MW was scheduled for distribution. On Sunday, 2,024MW was supplied by NTPC, of which 1,378MW was supplied to consumers. On Saturday, 1,846MW was provided by NTPC and 1,362MW was scheduled for distribution.
Discoms did not comment on the figures shared by NTPC.
The NTPC statement, however, was strongly refuted by Jain, who said the Centre is not considering the fact that on any given day, NTPC Limited is supposed to supply about 4,000MW to Delhi, but it is currently supplying only about 2,000MW or less daily.
“The NTPC has to supply 3,500MW to Delhi under the power purchase agreements (PPAs), but today it is giving only half of it— 1,750MW. For the past few days, NTPC has halved the power generation in its plants across the country. The Central government should answer whether there is an actual coal shortage or whether it (reduced power production) is being done intentionally,” he said.
Hindustan Times verified the data and confirmed that owing to reduced generation capacity stemming from the coal shortage, almost all coal-fired plants are producing electricity up to 50-55% of their capacity.
The Union power ministry on Tuesday said there was no power outage in Delhi due to a “shortage” of electricity. “The maximum power demand of Delhi was 4,536MW (peak) and 96.2 MU (energy) on October 10, 2021. As per the information received from Delhi discoms, there was no outage on account of power shortage, as the required amount of power was supplied to them,” the ministry said in a statement.
Yet, the power ministry added that it has directed the NTPC Limited and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) to supply as much power as is available to Delhi. “The ministry of power has issued instructions to NTPC and DVC to secure the power supply to Delhi. This will ensure that distribution companies of Delhi will get as much power as was requisitioned by them as per their demand,” the power ministry said.
In another letter, the ministry warned states and Union territories (UTs) to not indulge in selling excess power. It said a few states are not supplying power to their consumers and are imposing load shedding in areas, while selling electricity at the power exchange for a higher price. When asked, the ministry refused to name which these states or UTs were.
“If any state is found selling power in the power exchange or not scheduling this unallocated power, their unallocated power may be temporarily reduced or withdrawn and reallocated to other states which are in need of such power,” said the letter.
Jain also alleged that though Delhi has gas-powered electric power plants, the Centre has stopped giving gas to Delhi at a controlled rate because of which the Delhi government is forced to buy gas at market rates to generate electricity. “This has pushed up the cost of power generation. Despite that, there has been no power cut in the capital and the Delhi government is ensuring 24X7 electricity to the people. All coal reliant power plants in Delhi are non-functional. The Delhi government buys electricity from power plants that run on coal located outside Delhi. Chief Ministers of five to six states have written to the Prime Minister on this issue. Be it Punjab, Andhra Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh, power cuts are being imposed everywhere in the country, except Delhi,” he said.
However, several residents from across Delhi that HT spoke to said they have been facing power cuts ranging from one to four hours over the past couple of days.
Anand K Dubey, a resident of Ghitorni in south Delhi, said there was power cut in their area on Monday evening for at least two hours. “I request chief minister Arvind Kejriwal that there is no need to make Delhi like London or New York; let Delhi be like Mumbai or Bengaluru or even I’ll be happy to compare it with Lucknow or Patna when it comes to electricity,” he said.
At least three power officials have confirmed that rotational load shedding is being undertaken to ensure equitable distribution of electricity. A senior power official said on condition of anonymity, “The power demand in Delhi is being met. It is being met in two ways — one is by purchasing power on the spot and two, through minor load shedding to ensure equitable distribution to all areas.”