Explained: Why India Is Facing Power Crisis, Blackouts In Scorching Summer

New Delhi: India is staring at a power crisis as coal reserves in several states are quickly running out amid surging demand for electricity due to intense heatwaves in several parts of the country. Acute coal shortages are triggering blackouts in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

The country faced a similar energy crisis in October last year when coal reserves dwindled due to global logistical and internal production issues. It must be noted that India fulfills most of its coal needs domestically.

“Thermal plants across the country are grappling with coal shortage as the power demand in states has increased, and many of them are not able to bridge the gap between demand and supply because of insufficient coal stocks at thermal plants,” AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey said in a statement.

How Bad Is The Situation? What Are The Current Stock Levels?

According to a report from the Central Electricity Department, at least 100 of the 173 power plants are facing coal shortage. The coal stock in these plants are 25 per cent less than the normal stock.

According to the report, there was a stock of 22.52 million tonnes as of April 18 against 66.72 million tonnes, which is only 34 per cent of the common stock. This stock can produce electricity for up to nine days.

Power plants had an average stock of only nine days at the beginning of the FY 2023, the lowest since at least 2014, Reuters reported. Power plants are required to keep a stock of coal for at least 24 days.

Which States Are On The Brink Of Facing Blackouts?

Many states have reported about low stocks of coal. As many as 12 states such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Jharkhand and Haryana are facing power cuts because of less coal supply.

“Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jharkhand are among the states facing widespread power cuts due to coal scarcity. In the first half of April 2022, the domestic power demand hit a 38-year high for the month. While there was 1.1 per cent power shortage in October 2021, this shortfall shot up to 1.4 per cent in April 2022,” said Shailendra Dubey.

According to the report, coal shortage has been observed in all four plants in Karnataka, including the one operated by NTPC. Apart from these, only 11 per cent or 1.87 lakh tonnes of stock is left in the three state-run plants as against the normal stock of 16.99 lakh tonnes.

Why Is India Facing Such A Power Crisis?

The demand for electricity is high in the months of April to October, due to which it is common to witness a crisis. Experts said that such a problem happens every year, but this year it has aggravated due to the increase in global coal prices and supply disruption.

The thermal power companies are facing shortage of low ash coal because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war as they were unable to get coal loads from Russia.

The crisis comes at a time when demand for electricity is high due to heatwaves in several north Indian states. The electricity demand in the fourth quarter of FY2022 was 187 GW, while it was recorded at 194 GW between April 1-12, 2022.

What Steps Are The Government Taking To Tide Over The Crisis?

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday chaired a meeting with Power Minister RK Singh, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav following reports of coal shortage reported by many states.

The Railways Minister has been directed to rush coal loads to the thermal power plants whose coal stocks are on minimum level. The government is also mulling to explore the possibility of cheap coal from other countries to meet the shortage that arose after the Russia Ukraine war, PTI reported.

Source: news.abplive.com


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Friday April 22, 2022, 12:52:16 PM |

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