Coal crisis: Power consumption moderated by 72 million units on Saturday

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Updated: October 10, 2021 5:27 PM

According to the data, the power consumption of 3,900 MU on Friday or October 8 was the highest this month so far (from October 1 to 9), which also became a cause of concern among the ongoing coal shortage crisis in the country.

Coal Mining 02The CEA monitors 135 coal-based thermal power plants with cumulative capacity of over 165GW. (File)

Power consumption dipped by nearly 2 per cent or by 72 million units (MU) to 3,828 MU on Saturday compared to 3,900 MU on Friday, showing slight improvement in the supply situation across the country amid the coal shortage crisis, according to the power ministry data.

According to the data, the power consumption of 3,900 MU on Friday or October 8 was the highest this month so far (from October 1 to 9), which also became a cause of concern among the ongoing coal shortage crisis in the country.

The peak power demand met or the highest electricity supply in day touched 172.41GW on October 8. This is the highest peak power demand met from October 1 to 9. The data also showed that peak power demand met slowed to 170.03GW on Saturday, October 9, indicating that the power demand is moderating with the onset of autumn.

Power plants are grappling with short supply in a year when the country produced record coal, but rains hit movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units, impacting power generation in many states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

The power ministry in a release said that Union Power Minister R K Singh reviewed the coal stock position at thermal power plants, including those plants which are supplying power to distribution companies of Delhi.

Total despatch of coal from all sources was 1.92 million tonnes on Saturday while total consumption was 1.87 million tonnes. Thus, the coal despatch have exceeded the consumption, thereby indicating a shift to gradual building up of coal stock, the ministry said.

The minister has directed that distribution companies of Delhi will get as much as power as requisitioned by them as per their demand. NTPC and DVC have been directed to give full availability as per the requirement of DISCOMs. GAIL India Limited has been advised to make gas available from all sources to gas-based power plants in Delhi.

NTPC has also been advised to offer the normative declared capacity to the Delhi DISCOMs as per their allocations from gas-based power plants under respective PPAs.

Meanwhile, the ministry also warned that if any DISCOM is found to resort to load shedding despite being power available as per PPA, action would be initiated against them.

On Saturday, Tata Power arm Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (DDL) which operates in North and Northwest Delhi, had sent phone messages to its consumers saying, “Due to limited coal availability in generation plants across the north, power supply scenario between 2-6 pm is at a critical level. Kindly use electricity judiciously. Be a responsible citizen. Inconvenience caused is regretted – Tata Power-DDL.” The Coal Ministry on the other hand assured that there is ample coal available in the country to meet the demand of power plants and said any fear of disruption in the power supply is entirely misplaced.

The coal stock at power plants is sufficient for more than 4 days’ requirement and as the coal supply is being ramped up by CIL, coal stocks at power plants would gradually improve.

But the latest available data of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) showed that coal stocks at power plants on October 7, 2021, was not adequate as there were 16 plants with a cumulative capacity of 16,880 MW that had the dry fuel for zero days.

Besides, as many as 30 plants with 37,345 MW capacity had coal for just one day and 18 plants with 23,450 MW capacity had coal for two days as of October 7, 2021.
There were 19 plants with 29,160 MW capacity which had coal for three days and nine plants with 7,864MW capacity had coal for four days. There were six plants with 6,730MW capacity had coal stock for five days while 10 plants with 11,540MW capacity had coal for six days.

While one plant with 2,270 MW capacity had coal for seven days, another power plant with 920 MW capacity had coal for eight days.

The coal stock data for October 7, 2021, also showed that there were 69 non-pithead plants which had coal stock for less than four days and categorised as supercritical stock. Besides there were 23 plants which had coal for less than seven days and categorised at critical stock.

The CEA monitors 135 coal-based thermal power plants with a cumulative capacity of over 165GW.

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