These states may soon face a 'blackout' as coal demands surge

  • With the country slowly reviving from the deadly second wave of the pandemic, its electricity demands have shot up resulting in an unprecedented coal shortage with several generation units running as short as two days.
Electricity pylons and power lines are pictured at a power station.(REUTERS)
Electricity pylons and power lines are pictured at a power station.(REUTERS)
Published on Oct 10, 2021 11:26 AM IST
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Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India is facing a coal shortage following a sharp rise in the demand for importing power-generation fuels, such as coal, as the economy jumped-started again with the ebbing coronavirus pandemic. And, with the rising demand, the international prices of such fuels also shot up. As a result, India—the world’s second-highest importer, producer and consumer of coal—may face a potential blackout across the country. Many generation units are running coal as low as two days.

Here is a list of states facing an acute coal shortage:

Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday over "a power crisis". "I am personally keeping a close watch over the situation. We are trying our best to avoid it," Kejriwal said in a tweet. Meanwhile, a Tata Power spokesperson said that they have stopped generation in Mundra as the high cost of imported coal is “making it impossible to supply under present PPA terms”.

Rajasthan: Rajasthan is facing power outages on a daily basis. The state government has announced that it is resorting to one hour scheduled power cuts on a daily basis to tide over the power crisis.

Punjab: Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi asked the Centre to immediately increase the state’s coal supply as per quota to meet the demands against a power crisis that could potentially cause a shutdown of its thermal plants due to the depleting coal reserves. An official of the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) told news agency PTI that two units each at Talwandi Sabo power plant, Ropar plant and one unit at the Lehra Mohabbat, 475 MW plant have been shut. The state has already been experiencing at least 3-4 hours of power cuts on a regular basis.

Tamil Nadu: The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) said it suspended power supply in parts of Chennai to carry out maintenance work in the city.

Andhra Pradesh: In Andhra Pradesh too, acute supply shortfalls were pushing the state towards unscheduled power cuts, adding that crops could dry up if there is no electricity to power irrigation pumps. "More water is required in the last stage of harvesting and if it is denied, fields would dry up and farmers stand to lose," Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said in a letter to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Telangana Genco officials claimed that they have sufficient coal reserves for the next one week to 10 days. Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha have also been facing an acute energy crunch due to the coal shortage. In Odisha, the industry was facing a coal shortage and had petitioned the state government to ensure an adequate supply of the fuel.

An inter-ministerial sub-group led by the Union ministry of power has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week. The ministry on Friday issued guidelines for ensuring optimum utilisation of generating stations as per the requirements in the Electricity Grid. Officials have said these guidelines will enable imported coal-based plants with sufficient coal operate and ease out the burden on domestic coal.

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Monday, November 29, 2021