Depleting Coal Stocks, Rising Temperatures Spark Fear Of Power Crisis In Multiple States: Repor

New Delhi: As temperature continues to rise in most parts of the country, demand for electricity is also expected to rise amid dipping coal stocks at over 150 power plants to meet the increasing demands that can lead to power outages in multiple states in the country, reported news agency IANS. 

The coal stock position at the Central Election Authority (CEA) supervised 173 power plants stood at 21.93 million tonnes (MT), which is less than the regulatory requirement of 66.32 MT as on April 21, reported the news agency quoting a Nomura report.

Attributing media reports, IANS reported that coal inventories had dipped to the lowest since 2014 at the beginning of the financial year to nine days as against the Centre’s mandated 24 days’ worth of stocks.

While the CEA stated a dip in coal stock in 81 out of 150 government owned power plants is critical, the demand for power consumption has also increased from 106.6 billion units (BU) in 2019, it increased to 124.2 BU in 2021 to 132 BU in 2022.

“There is a coal shortage and the situation still could have been salvaged, but the early heat has exponentially increased the power demand, widening the demand-supply gap,” said an official from the power sector.

As a consequence, states such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh are witnessing power outages amid low coal stocks.

Amid the crisis, the Maharashtra government, earlier on Friday, had announced its plan to import coal and acquire a coal mine from Chhattisgarh for power generation.

“Coal is not being supplied in the country as per demand, forcing us to consider alternatives to bridge the gap of around 3,500 MW-4,000 MW shortfall between the demand and supply,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had told media persons in Mumbai.

 

Government Changes Coal Acquisition Norms For Private Players

Amid the power crisis in many states in the country, the Union power ministry on Friday said that it has allowed private power generating stations to secure coal supplies for up to three years instead of the current norm of one year, reported news agency PTI. 

“In line with various measures being taken in view of increasing power demand, the Power Ministry has amended the methodology for use of coal (allocated to states) by private power generating stations,” the Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry further said that the latest steps would also enable states to optimally utilise their linkage coal in the plants nearer to the mines as it would be easier to transmit electricity instead of coal transport to far off states.

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