Thermal power plants across the country are struggling with coal shortages, signaling a looming energy crisis in the country, the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said.
“Thermal power plants across the country are struggling with coal shortages as power demand has increased across the states and a number of states are unable to close the demand-supply gap due to insufficient coal stocks at the thermal power plants,” AIPEF spokesman VK Gupta said in a statement.
Mr Gupta explained that coal shortages portend a looming energy crisis.
According to the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) latest daily coal report, coal stocks at 81 out of a total of 150 thermal power plants using domestic coal are critical under guidelines, the statement said.
The state of the private thermal power plants is just as bad as the coal reserves of 28 out of 54 power plants are in a critical stage, she stressed.
According to the statement, in the northern region, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are the worst-affected states.
All seven thermal power plants with a capacity of 7,580 MW in the Rajasthan State sector have critical coal stocks. In Uttar Pradesh, 3 out of 4 government sector thermal power plants with a capacity of 6,129 MW except Anapara Thermal have critical coal stocks.
In Punjab, the coal reserve is 17 days at Rajpura Thermal, 4 days at Talwandi Sabo Thermal and zero reserve at GVK Thermal. At Ropar Thermal and Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant, supplies are said to only last for 9 and 6 days respectively.
In Haryana, Yamuna Nagar Thermal has a stock of 8 days and Panipat Thermal has a stock of 7 days. At Khedar Thermal, where the only unit available for generation is 22 days’ supply of coal, it said.
There is an evening peak shortage of 2,400 MW in the northern region, with 1,200 MW from Uttar Pradesh and 600 MW from Haryana. Maharashtra has six out of seven thermal power plants with critical coal stock and Andhra Pradesh has all three thermal power plants with critical coal stock, the statement said.
The Union Department of Energy has recommended importing coal for blending by up to 10% to ensure adequate stocks when power demand peaks in the coming months, it added.
The current cost of landing imported Indonesian coal is around US$200. The expensive imported coal would increase the costs for the energy suppliers, she stressed.
Additionally, the number of trains provided by Indian Railways per day is 415 versus 453 required by utilities. In practice, that number never exceeds 400. The wagon shortages usually affect thermal stations located at remote locations from coal mines, AIPEF said.