An electricity crisis is brewing across many states such as Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Many have resorted to long power cuts while others warn of possible a blackout emerging from coal shortage in India.
Over 130 thermal power plants which amount to the generation of 70% of India’s electricity have a coal supply of less than a day or two.
Demand for power supply in the industrial sector after the second wave and increased economic activity has exponentially increased the coal consumption in the country. Electricity consumption grew 17% more in the past two months compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Amid the ongoing blackout concerns, the Ministry of Coal on Sunday assured that India has sufficient coal reserves to meet power demands.
The Ministry in a statement said that there is ample coal is available in the country to meet the demands of power. Therefore prospects of blackout in India are ‘entirely misplaced’.There are currently 43 million tonnes of coal reserves which are sufficient for 24 days. At the same time, it confirmed that coal stocks will gradually improve in the coming days.
Cited reasons for this situation include depletion of coal reserves emerging out of high demand for electricity in growing economic activities. Excess rainfall in coal-based power plant areas Hindered the generation of power to its full capacity. Hike in the international coal prices and legal issues with giant coal companies.
Delhi: Kejriwal government has warned of a possibility of blackout in the national capital of India
Earlier chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had written a letter to the Modi govt asking to provide the required coal supply. He warned of a possible blackout crisis in the national capital.
Power Minister RK Singh said that Delhi is being supplied with electricity demands and coal supplies to power plants.
However, these assurances have been criticized by the deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia. He attacked the Centre for turning a blind eye to the alarming situation. He also compared it with the oxygen crisis earlier this year.
Punjab is likely to continue 3 hours of daily power cut till October 13
The coal shortage in the state has led the government to impose rotational shedding. Power utilities under pressure have placed daily power cuts of over 3 hours which will continue for few days.
Power plants are not even operating at 50% of their generation capacity. The Punjab state Power Power corporation limited (PSPCL) has fuel for up to 4 days while private thermal power plants have supplies that would last 1.5 days
Kerela’s generation capacity dropped to 50%
Minister Krishnan Kutty has signaled that the state electricity board is considering possibilities of power cuts if the grim situation of coal supply continues.
The coal shortage from central pools resulted in the closure of few thermal power stations in the state.
Tamil Nadu resort to power cuts to maintain coal supplies
Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) resorted to power cuts due to limited coal supplies received by the state.
The State utilities were maintaining coal stocks for up to 4 days against the national average of four weeks.
Divert coal supplies to the state to dispel a power crisis: Karnataka CM
Karnataka’s chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has appealed to the Centre to increase coal supply to avert a potential Power crisis.
Jharkhand and Bihar are the worst sufferers in this coal shortage. These states are experiencing power cuts up to 14 hours in some regions.
There will be an improvement in the overall situation: Coal Minister
The coal Ministry said that it is supplying 14 lakh tonnes a day to power plants. It would increase it to 16 tonnes by the end of October.
It is safe to say there won’t be a nationwide blackout in India. However, the enormous surge in demand for power supply coupled with the upcoming festival season in October will be tough for the power utilities to ensure sufficient power needs across states.