Hit by shortage, Andhra Pradesh to buy coal from private firms

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Published: October 2, 2019 12:57:02 AM

Meanwhile, N Sreekanth, secretary for energy department denied that distribution companies (discoms) have stopped power from wind or solar power generators.

An NTPC spokesperson said of the four units in AP with a capacity of 2000 MW, only two were functional with an output of 1000 MW due to coal shortage.

Following severe coal shortage in Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO) is in the process of identifying private power companies such as Jindal Power in Odisha and buy coal from such firms through the clause that allows private firms to sell 25% of its production to open market through Coal India (CIL). The shortage had led to shutting down of 2000 MW thermal power plants of APGENCO as there was no supply from Coal India.

“There is an inter-ministerial meeting scheduled with the ministry of coal, railways, power and Coal India Ltd with APGENCO officials in Delhi on Thursday. Like the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, APGENCO will explore possibilities of buying coal from Central coal fields or buy surplus coal available in the mines of Odisha GENCO,” Praveen Prakash, principal secretary, said.

Currently, APGENCO generation is 14062 MU compared to 12679 MU in the same period last year which has consumed additional coal quantity of 11 lakh MT, he added. The state is having an installed capacity of 5010 MW for which the thermal stations are having fuel supply agreements with Mahanadi Coalfields (MCL) and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL). The recent heavy rainfall at the mines has affected supplies to thermal stations of the APGENCO. “To run at 85% plant load factor (PLF), around 70,000 MT of coal is required and at present, on an average, 45000 MT of coal is being received from MCL and SCCL,” a statement from the CM Office said.

A series of incidents led to the shortage for APGENCO which has led to cascading effect on thermal power plants. “An accident occurred in Bharathpur mines in MCL area in July, which caused closure of the mine and followed by 15 days strike adversely affected the coal supplies to APGENCO state thermal stations. Again, in the third week of September 2019, there was a strike in MCL mines for three days and in the Singareni mines for one day. As a result, our thermal stations are once adversely affected,” the statement said. The annual coal linkage with MCL is 17.968 million metric tonnes per annum and with Singareni is 8.88 million metric tonnes per annum, it added.

Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh has borrowed round the clock (RTC) power of 3800 MU power from Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh during November and December 2018, January to April 2019 with the agreement that 1500 MW RTC of 3990 MU of power will be returned starting from June 15th to September 30, 2019.

An NTPC spokesperson said of the four units in AP with a capacity of 2000 MW, only two were functional with an output of 1000 MW due to coal shortage. A political analyst observed that the current crisis is due to government’s short-sighted decision as it rejected power from renewable energy companies, saying that they are of higher rates.

“The thermal plants in AP are seeing a shortfall of 25,000 MT coal every day. Coupled with this, the central government decision has barred AP Discoms from purchase of power due to non-payment of dues worth over Rs 2,000 crore. The crisis is becoming severe leading to frequent power cuts and the industries are worried lot,’’ the analyst pointed out.

Further, AP chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has requested Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao to increase coal supply from SCCL to tide over the crisis from the existing supply of four rakes to nine rakes a day from the mines with each rake carrying about 3850 MT.

Meanwhile, N Sreekanth, secretary for energy department denied that distribution companies (discoms) have stopped power from wind or solar power generators.

“The wind was not blowing properly and sun was not shining well in the last 10 days. Therefore, power generation from wind or solar was not sufficient to meet the load during peak hours” he said. For the past 10 days, 3000 MW of solar power had to be produced and only 815 MW was generated in just one day and there were also cases where the minimum of 28 MW is generated in a day.

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