Minister warns of blackout in Delhi as power consumption rises due to heat wave
It is for the first time that Delhi has seen the peak power demand jumped over 6,000 MW four times in May.Updated: May 26, 2018, 17:43 IST
A power crisis owing to alleged “coal shortage” looms over Delhi at a time when the city’s daily consumption is clocking a high of 6,000 MW for the past four days. Warning of a “blackout” in Delhi, power minister Satyendar Jain said on Friday that thermal power stations in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri and Jhajjar and in Delhi’s Badarpur are not generating enough electricity because of shortage of coal.
“For the past 15 days, thermal power plants in Delhi-NCR are operating below their capacity as wagons to transport coal to the stations are not available with the Indian Railways. I wrote to Union railways minister Piyush Goyal on May 17, but till date no reply has come,” Jain said.
In his letter to Goyal, Jain sought the Union minister’s intervention and wrote that some of these power stations have coal stocks that would last only for a day or two, whereas, the usual norm is to keep at least 14 days of supply in stock.
A railway spokesperson denied the allegation saying there was no wagon shortage with the Indian Railways. “On May 18, Goyal held a meeting where railway officials were directed to improve the turn-around time of rakes by better scheduling of trains and optimum utilisation of traffic blocks. He also stressed on reducing terminal detention of wagons (carrying coal) inside power plants and coal sidings to generate extra capacity,” the official said.
Delhi’s daily allocation from the three coal-based power plants is 2,325 MW, but at present, it is getting only 1,355 MW, according to government data. To add to the problem, two main lines which supply power to Delhi from the national grid are also temporarily shut, officials said.
Government officials and discoms said the deficit in electricity has forced power utilities to buy expensive power through inter-state exchanges.
“Due to insufficient power coming from coal-based plants, discoms are procuring power through alternate arrangements such as bi-laterals and exchange. But, the problem is it is very expensive with the cost going up to Rs 10 per unit,” said an official privy to the development.
On Friday, Delhi’s power demand was 6,008 MW.
It is for the first time that the city has seen the peak power demand jump over 6,000 MW four times in May. In May 2017 and 2016, the demand crossed the mark only twice.
This year, the highest consumption, so far, was on May 22 when the demand reached 6,122 MW. On June 6 last year, the city’s power demand touched 6,526 MW, breaking records.
Though not widespread and prolonged, several parts of the city are facing power outages either due to planned shutdowns or local faults.