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In Maharashtra, power shortage, rising demand lead to load-shedding

A senior official of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) said “high-loss zones” — areas where pending bills and losses are more than 58 per cent — saw load-shedding on Monday and Tuesday.

Written by Priyanka Sahoo | Mumbai |
Updated: October 10, 2018 6:23:40 am
Customers protest over inflated power bills On Tuesday, peak power demand in Maharashtra exceeded 21,000 MW and the state generation utility – Mahagenco – could only produce around 7,000 MW.

THE STATE electricity distributor resorted to load-shedding in some parts of Maharashtra starting Monday, similar to last year. A massive shortage of power across the country, along with rising demand, has led to the load-shedding.

A senior official of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) said “high-loss zones” — areas where pending bills and losses are more than 58 per cent — saw load-shedding on Monday and Tuesday. These included areas such as Marathwada, Ichalkaranji and parts of Mumbra, Thane and Bhiwandi. Residents in Mumbra said they had received messages from the discom that load-shedding would begin on Tuesday owing to a power shortage.

On Tuesday, peak power demand in Maharashtra exceeded 21,000 MW and the state generation utility – Mahagenco – could only produce around 7,000 MW. “With temperatures rising, demand has grown. However, production has not kept up and all generation companies are suffering owing to a coal shortage. So we have been forced to carry out load-shedding,” said the official.

Generation companies are, meanwhile, facing an acute coal shortage. According to data from the Central Electricity Authority, as on Monday, all the 15 thermal power plants in Maharashtra were running on coal stocks that would last less than 10 days. Of these, 12 are running on ‘supercritical’ coal stocks (less than four days’ stock). This means that if coal supplies were to stop for any reason (a 24-hour breakdown in supply), the stock in these 12 plants will run out in less than four days. The coal stocks are considerably lower than the mandate by the Central Electricity Authority of maintaining 25 to 30 days’ coal stock at thermal power plants.

“Coal production has suffered. There is also a power shortage across the country. Hence, power is either unavailable for purchase off the central grid or too expensive. The current situation is grim but it is likely to ease once the weather changes,” said the official.

The load-shedding spree is likely to continue and officials did not comment on when the situation was likely to improve. Last year, between May and September, several parts of the state experienced load-shedding under similar circumstances. The acute shortage had forced the discom to carry out load-shedding in urban pockets as well.

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