A sudden rise in electricity demand in the wake of inadequate coal supply is precariously pushing power plants towards outages. According to government data, more than 10,500 MW of power plants have cited ‘coal shortage’ for shutting their units down. Out of this, 2,700 MW and 4,210 MW went under outage in September and October, respectively.
Most of these plants are located in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, all far away from the coal mines, reflecting the inadequacy of the transportation infrastructure to ferry the fuel.
Sources said that extraordinary rise in power demand in the last few days — which is otherwise a positive economic indicator — is proving to a bane to power plants in need of coal. There has been a whopping 12.6 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) rise in power demand the first fifteen days of the third quarter of FY19. As on October 16, as many as 33 power plants, had fuel stock to last for less than seven days. At the end of September, 22 generating stations were running with such critical stock.
However, domestic coal production by state-owned Coal India and Singareni Collieries Company — the two main state-owned coal miners — during April-September grew at 9.7 per cent annually to 285 MT. —FE