Unprecedented Increase in Power Demand Behind Coal Shortage, Says Govt Amid Blackout Concerns

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New Delhi: The coal supply situation for power plants is likely to improve soon, the central government said on Saturday, with several states raising concerns over stock shortages and possible blackouts. The Delhi government has said that the city may face power crisis in two days if sufficient coal is not provided to power plants. There are reports of continuous power cuts from Punjab also. The power ministry said in a statement that coal supply issues are linked to the rise in prices of imported coal, among other factors. Also Read – Coal Crisis Bigger: These States May Face Complete Blackouts Or Long Power Cuts

There are four reasons for the reduction in coal stocks in power plants – unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy, heavy rains in coal mine areas, increase in the price of imported coal and legacy issues such as huge power dues of coal companies. In some states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the ministry said in a statement today. Also read- Due to power cut in Punjab, time cut in government offices, regulatory measures implemented

The government said an inter-ministerial sub-group headed by the coal ministry is monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week. The ministry and Coal India Limited have assured that they are trying their best to send 1.6 million tonnes or MT per day to the power sector in the next three days and then reach 1.7 MT per day. Also read- Electricity demand in Delhi at record level of 6,592 MW due to rising temperature and no rain

The daily consumption of electricity has crossed 4 billion units per day and due to the increasing dependence on coal, 65 percent to 70 percent of the demand is being met from coal-fired power plants. Coal imports have decreased in comparison to 2019-20 due to import substitution and rising prices of imported coal. This shortfall is compensated by domestic coal for power generation, which further increases the demand for domestic coal.

The Ministry of Power on Friday issued guidelines for operating the generating stations for optimum utilization as per the requirements in the power grid. He said that these guidelines will enable imported coal based plants (having enough coal) to operate and reduce the burden on domestic coal.

(with inputs from agency)

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