India is on the verge of facing an unprecedented power crisis as power generation has come down due to a shortage of coal across the country. This power crisis is going to impact several states including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Odisha and Maharashtra among others. Talking about the crisis, out of 135 coal plants, 108 were facing critically low stocks. In fact, some plants have just one day of supply left. This crisis is a major concern simply because the power consumption has jumped by 17 per cent as compared to 2019. Many officials and chief ministers of states have started initiating various measures to deal with the crisis and have approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an immediate solution. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has requested PM Modi to intervene in the matter and initiate steps to deal with the crisis.
Let’s take a look as to how several states are being impacted with the power crisis and what initial steps they have taken to deal with the same.
Sanjeev Hans, secretary of Bihar Energy, has said, “Due to the shortage of coal, electricity generation across the country has come down. Bihar gets 4500 MW of power from NTPC. However, at present only 3000 MW of electricity is available. Similarly, instead of 688 MW from private companies, only 347 MW is getting power.”
The four power plants in the state are running at half capacity. If the plants run at full capacity, then only three and a half days of coal is left in the state.
Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, governed by the Gujarat government, has begun talks with companies, including Tata Power, Adani Power and Essar Power Gujarat Ltd, for restarting their imported coal fired power projects that have been shut down due to spiralling global coal prices.
As far as the national capital is concerned, Chief Minister Kejriwal has requested PM Modi to intervene in the matter for diversion of adequate coal and gas to power plants supplying electricity to Delhi
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has said, “Thermal power generating stations of AP Genco, which meet 45 per cent of the state’s energy needs, hardly have coal stock for one or two days.”
Reddy on Friday appealed for the prime minister’s “urgent personal attention” to monitor the power generation scenario and take appropriate remedial measures to tackle the crisis in view of the non-availability of coal stocks.
Amid the issue of power crisis faced by India, the southern state of Tamil Nadu also looks in a bad shape as TANGEDCO’s five thermal power stations at North Chennai, Tuticorin and Mettur have an average of just four days of coal stock left with them. As per reports, TANGEDCO is in touch with the Union Power Ministry and Coal India Limited (CIL) to ensure supply of the fuel.
Reacting on the matter, Minister for Energy, V Senthil Balaji said, “We are taking all necessary measures to make sure that there is no power crisis.” AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam has advised Chief Minister M K Stalin to speak to the Union Minister of Coal and ensure sufficient supply of coal to thermal power stations.
In Odisha, ‘The Utkal Chamber Of Commerce and Industry Ltd’ has urged CM Naveen Patnaik’s attention on the issue to ensure adequate supply. In a letter to the Chief Minister, the UCCI on Friday said, “We would like to bring to your kind attention the current acute coal shortage situation in the state with many units having stock out or critical coal stock seriously affecting the viable operation of the industrial units.”
Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco), which is responsible for producing electricity in the state, has reported a huge shortage of coal. The shortage is such that coal stock has been reduced to just one-and-a-half to two days. Mahagenco, a power generating company in Maharashtra, has been facing an acute shortage of coal. As compared to the earlier situation, when there used to be coal stock for seven to 12 days, now only one-and-a-half to two days of stock is left.
A statement released by Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (JVVNL) has said that it will resort to one-hour power in 12 districts across the state to overcome the drop in power generation due to the coal shortage in thermal power stations. The 12 districts, which will be impacted by power cuts from today, include Jaipur, Dausa, Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Kota, Bundi, Baran, Tonk, Jhalawar, Sawai Madhopur and Karauli.
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) said two units each at Talwandi Sabo power plant, Ropar plant and one unit at the Lehra Mohabbat plant have been shut. While the units at the Lehra Mohabbat plant and Talwandi Sabo plant have been forced to shut because of the coal shortage, technical glitches have forced the shutdown of two units at Ropar. This has caused a power shortage of 1,000 MW which can result in power cuts ranging from three to four hours in the state.
Talking about UP, out of 16 pithead power projects across the country, eight have a stock of coal for only six days, whereas 25 out of 109 non-pithead projects (situated a distance of at least 1500 Kms from coal head) have a stock for a week. Energy minister Srikant Sharma said in a statement that “the state was also affected by the shortage of coal”. The officials of the Uttar Pradesh Power Generation Company were in touch with the coal ministry for improving the situation, he added.
India is not the only country facing the power and energy crisis. The list also includes countries like China, Indonesia and the US in particular. Inner Mongolia, China’s second-largest coal-producing province, has ordered its 72 mines to boost production by nearly 100 million metric tons. Indonesia is seeing a huge rise in coal prices. Coal prices in Indonesia have increased to nearly $162 per ton this month from $86.68 in April.
Amid the power crisis, a shortage in supplies of Natural Gas has also been reported. The shortage has resulted due to the crunch in supplies from Russia. A strong demand from China has only escalated the issue. In the United States, which is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, the bidding war has led to highest level prices in a decade.