Shortage of coal supply likely to force Maharashtra to go for load shedding
Amid the crisis of coal supply for power generation, 13 units of state-owned and private power generation thermal plants have stalled, leading to a shortfall of 3,330MW. The shortfall in power generation may affect supply and compel authorities to go for load shedding during peak hours in the next couple of days until the coal supply regularises.
The shortage of coal has hampered six thermal power generation plants, supplying power to Maharashtra, forcing the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) to cut short the supply to agricultural pumps. The state has also appealed to consumers to use electricity judiciously, during peak hours (from 6am to 10am and 6pm to 10pm). Mahagenecos’s three units at Chandrapur, Bhuswawa, and Nashik, with the capacity of 210MW each, Paras (250MW) and one unit with the capacity of 500MW at Bhusawal and Chandrapur are shut. Besides them, Postal Gujarat Power Limited’s four units of 640MW and Ratan India Power Limited’s three units of 810 MW are shut for want of coal.
Dinesh Waghmare, principal secretary, energy department, said the state-owned power plants have the stock of coal to last only for a day or one-and-a-half days. “We have been coping with the demand by purchasing power from open market, but the demand goes up, we will have to go for the load shedding. We expect the coal supply to improve in next couple of days. Our own thermal power generation plants are generating 60% of the power of 6,000MW they generate. The power demand during the peak hours in October goes up to 22,000 and in such cases, we may have to go for shedding.”
The current power generation in the state ranges around 19,000 MW and was 18,200 MW on Sunday at 11.30am, and 17,289MW on Saturday. The demand is expected to go up during working days from Monday, because of the rise in the temperature, festive season and ramped up agricultural activities during rabi season. The peak hour demand in last October had gone up to 22,000MW and expected to be the same in the next few days. To cope with the reduction in the production, the power supply to the agricultural pumps has been reduced during night time by few hours.
The Mahadiscom purchased 700MW at ₹13.60 a unit from the open market, while real time purchase of 900MW was at ₹6.23 a unit. The cost for the purchase of the power from the open market costs rages between ₹2.50 and ₹20 a unit. The state authorities have also pressed on the generation from the hydro and non-conventional generation sources.