CHANDIGARH: Severe shortage of coal at thermal power plants in Punjab has forced power utility PSPCL to cut power generation and implement rotational load shedding at several places, slamming the Center for insufficient coal supply to the state government. Have to put
An official of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited said that due to the critical power situation, coal reserves are left with power plants in the state for five days.
“The plants are running at low capacity,” the official said. He said that they are not being run at full capacity to conserve coal.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Saturday hit out at the Center for inadequate coal supply and feared closure of thermal power plants in the state in the next few days due to rapidly depleting coal supplies.
He said that Punjab was not getting sufficient coal supply despite agreements with various subsidiaries of Coal India Limited and asked the central government to immediately ensure the state’s quota of coal to tide over the power crisis.
The current power demand in the state is around 9,000 MW.
Officials said that apart from the demand for electricity from the agriculture sector, the high temperature during the day is also increasing the power requirements in the state.
Though PSPCL officials claimed minimum load shedding, there are reports of power cuts for two to three hours at many places in the state.
Reviewing the power situation in the state amid short supply of coal, the CM said that all thermal plants are unable to generate power at full capacity due to insufficient coal availability.
However, he reiterated his government’s firm commitment to providing electricity supply to irrigate the paddy crop, where required at the last end of the crop’s yield.
Channi, however, said in a statement that power cuts are being made on domestic consumers in cities and villages to ensure adequate supply to the agriculture sector as well as to maintain grid discipline.
PSPCL Chairman and Managing Director A Venu Prasad told Channi that thermal plants across the country are facing coal shortage and coal supply crisis.
Within the state, independent power generating (IPP) plants Nabha Power Ltd (1.9 days), Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (1.3 days) and GVK (0.6 days) have less than two days left.
The state-owned Ropar Thermal Plant and Lehar Mohabbat Thermal Plant have coal stocks left for four and five days respectively, the official said.
As per the guidelines of the Central Electricity Authority, power plants located at a distance of more than 1,000 km from a coal mine should always have a minimum coal stock of up to 30 days, but this level of stock is not maintained by power plants in the state.
On Friday, the power plants had received some coal supplies to run their operations, the official said.
The official said that in view of the low generation of power, PSPCL is procuring power through the power exchange, but its price is more than Rs 10 per unit, which is quite expensive.
Venuprasad said that he has written to the Center to increase the supply of coal to the state.
Officials claimed that the situation is expected to return to normal in the next few days.