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Delhi government red-flags coal shortage in power plants, warns of blackout

Delhi power minister Satyendar Jain said the coal shortage is because the Indian Railways is not being able to transport coal to the stations either due to train delays or lack of wagons.

delhi Updated: Jun 28, 2018 07:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,thermal power plants,blackout
In this photograph taken on April 6, 2015, smoke billows from two smoke stacks at the coal-based Badarpur Thermal Station in New Delhi. (AFP File)

The Delhi government on Wednesday said thermal power plants in and around the city had again started facing coal shortage, which could lead to blackouts if the problem is not addressed immediately.

State power minister Satyendar Jain told reporters on Wednesday that it had been about 10 days since coal stocks had been drying up at thermal power stations in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri and Jhajjar and in Delhi’s Badarpur. The minister wrote to union power minister RK Singh, seeking his intervention in the issue.

“Since June 19, 2018, coal stock is continuously declining and has reached approximately 90,000 metric tonnes today, which is only one and a half days of requirement. Normally, a stock of at least 15 days is required to be maintained by these power plants,” Jain wrote in his letter.

There has been an unprecedented power demand in June compared to previous years. “For the first time in Delhi, we have got a month where power demand has remained above 6,000 MW every single day. This is over 14% more than the electricity consumed in June last year. The persistent hot and humid conditions forced people to use air-conditioners and for longer hours,” an official of the power department said.

Delhi’s peak power demand touched an all-time high of 6,934 MW on June 8, which is much more than the consumption of other metro cities such as Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata.

Ideally, in a single day, the three plants have a coal stock of 56,000 metric tonnes, which last for about 13-15 days.

Data with the government shows how coal stocks in these plants have been on a steady decline over the past week. From 1,81,785 metric tonnes on June 17, the stock came down to 91,129 metric tonnes on Wednesday.

Delhi’s daily allocation from the three coal-based power plants is 2,325 MW, but at present, it is getting only about 1,700 MW, according to government data. As much as 80% of Delhi’s power comes from coal fired plants.

Jain said the coal shortage is because the Indian Railways is not being able to transport coal to the stations either due to train delays or lack of wagons.

In the letter, the minister requested Singh to “intervene personally and take up the matter with the railways for providing rakes and wagons on priority for transportation of coal to these power plants in order to avoid load shedding or any major grid incidence leading to blackouts in Delhi.”

First Published: Jun 28, 2018 07:52 IST