Written by Deepa Jainani, Vikas Srivastava, Sajan C Kumar | Chennai, Lucknow, Mumbai |
April 11, 2022 4:07:28 am
“Our utilities will also import around 9 million tonne of coal by June, without putting any additional pressure on transportation of domestic coal by the railways.”
A peaking summer, coupled with an industrial revival, has led to a huge power shortage in the country. Even as the government claims it is pulling out all the stops to avoid a nation-wide power crisis, worsening of fuel stocks at thermal stations is likely to cripple electricity supplies in the weeks ahead.
Electricity shortage rose to 80 million units (MUs) on April 7, close to an all-time high of 82 MU seen on October 12, 2021, and up from a daily average of just 19.7 MU in March. Supply shortage during peak hours was 6,124 mega watt (MW) on April 7, even higher than the recent high of 5,591 MW (October 12).
The states that have already started witnessing temporary power outages in the last few days are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the most industrialised states, are trying to hard to avoid load shedding by letting the state-run utilities buy expensive power – from gencos under short-term arrangements and even from the spot market.
Stating that the current situation is a “fallout of a high prices of imported coal and gas, which increased the pressure on domestic coal suppliers” rather than any laxity on the domestic coal front or on the part of railways in transporting the fuel, Union Power Secretary Alok Kumar told FE that the current level of coal stocks at power plants (24.5 million tonne) would suffice for 12 days, at the current level of consumption. He added that it was ‘almost impossible’ to change the logistics design in short term, but listed out the steps taken by the government to avert a major power crisis.
“Domestic coal production and transportation by the railways are being increased to the maximum level possible in the short term. We have also advised states and power companies owned by the Centre like NTPC and DVC to import coal for blending, and this has started happening. Our utilities will also import around 9 million tonne of coal by June, without putting any additional pressure on transportation of domestic coal by the railways.” FE
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd