India is on the verge of a blackout. India is facing its most dire electricity shortage in more than 6 years in the midst of an extreme heatwave throughout the country. Amidst the scorching temperatures, the rise in the demand for power has left the country scurrying for coal; the dominant source of fuel for the generation of electricity in the country.
Depleting coal supply
The coal inventories of the country are stunted and the pre-summer reserves of the fuel are the lowest in at least 9 years. As per the reports of the power ministry of India, the demand for power surged to a record high on Thursday and is expected to rise by a colossal margin of 8% in May. The Union Power Minister, RK Singh also expressed his concern over the imbalance between the increasing demand and the decreasing coal supply.
During the first 27 days of April, a shortage of over 1.88 billion units of electricity was recorded by the power ministry. From the northernmost states of Jammu and Kashmir to the southern state of Andhra Pradesh citizens are trying to pull through 2–8-hour long cuts.
Maharashtra’s Energy Minister Nitin Raut said that the state is contending an acute power shortage with some plants left with only 1.5 days of coal reserves. Konya Dam, which is a major source of power generation for the state is left with only 17 TMCs of water, 1 TMC is needed to generate a day’s worth of electric power. He added that the state is trying to make ends meet to resolve the
crisis. Various high-level meetings overutilization of the state’s hydro resources to generate electricity are being conducted.
Aam Aadmi Party has also expressed its concerns over the potential dearth of power supply in the national capital. Delhi’s power minister Satyender Jain has confirmed the visible shortage of coal in the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). As per reports, the Dadri 2 power plant of NTPC is on the brink with only a day’s worth of supply whereas the Aravalli plant is struggling to function with 7-8 days’ worth of stock.
The Delhi government is also concerned that the power shortage can hamper the city’s essential services such as the Metro and hospitals. The state government has also appealed to the Centre to provide them with adequate coal supply, to ensure the provision of 24-hour unrestricted to all the residents of the city.
Uttar Pradesh; the country’s most populous state is likely to face a bulky electricity crisis in the upcoming months as the backup coal stocks used to fuel thermal power plants have started depleting in April, before the onset of monsoons. The state faces an acute coal shortage in the months of June-September owing to the shortage of wagons to ferry coal to plants. An anonymous official asserted that the situation will only get worse with the inception of rain and floods.
M. Devraj, chairman of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation stated that power plants are unable to maintain the designated amount of coal supply. Efforts are being made to transport coal via roads instead of trains to avoid delays in supply, he added. According to several reports from the Central Electricity Authority, the coal stocks of UP’s thermal power plants are in their critical and super-critical stages. The coal stock at a plant is declared to be critical when the stock is less than 25% of the normative level for 5 days in the case of pithead plants and seven days in the case of non-pithead plants.