Coal shortage forces thermal plants to partially shut operations in Karnataka

The scale of shortage of coal is pegged at over 50 per cent.

Published: 26th October 2018 09:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th October 2018 09:48 AM   |  A+A-

Raichur Thermal Power Station

Express News Service

RAICHUR: Because of a massive shortage of coal, operations at two thermal power plants that contribute a majority of power for Karnataka have been partially shut down. The scale of shortage of coal is pegged at over 50 per cent.

The Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) at Shaktinagar has shut down four units. Seven units in the plant have the capacity to produce 210 MW of power, while the eighth unit has the capacity to produce 250 MW of power. At present, against the maximum production capacity of 1,720 MW of power, the plant manages to produce only 870 MW on an average.

On a normal day, seven to eight rakes of coal arrive from coal companies to the RTPS. Now, only four rakes are arriving at the plant. Each rake has 59 wagons that can accommodate 3,000 metric tonnes of coal. To produce 1,720 MW of power, the plant needs 25,000 metric tonnes of coal.

With only four rakes, the total quantity of coal coming to the plant has come down to 12,000 metric tonnes. This means, it facing over 50 per cent shortage. The plant is currently operating units 1, 2, 3 and 8. Wednesday’s power production of RTPS was a meagre 801 MW, according to the KPCL website.

At the Bellary Thermal Power Plant (BTPS), two units have shut operations. The BTPS is only running unit 2 and has produced a little over 300 MW of power on Thursday. The total capacity of the plant is 1,700 MW. The two units have a maximum capacity of 500 MW each, while one unit has the capacity to produce 700 MW.

Speaking to Express, RTPS Executive Director Chandrashekhar B Yellatti said, “At present, only 700-800 MW of power is produced at RTPS. From the second week of September, the supply of coal has spiralled downwards. The coal is supplied to Karnataka from Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL), Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).”

He said from SCCL, three to four rakes arrive daily and from WCL, one rake arrive on alternate days, sometimes once in three days. From MCL, supply has been virtually stopped following Titli cyclone in Odisha.

He said the RTPS had coal stock of 4,50,000 metric tonnes, but when the shortage started in the second week of September, the plant started to use this coal and now, the stock is nil. Whatever coal lands to the plant is directly fed for production, he added.

The Yermarus Thermal Power Station, a super-critical thermal power plant at Yermarus in Raichur, is only operating one unit. The plant has two units with maximum capacity to produce 800 MW of power each. Currently, coal is being supplied from RTPS to this plant.

Yellatti said one rake of coal is supplied to YTPS daily. Now, the one unit is running on half load and produces up to 400 MW. On Thursday, the production at YTPS was a meagre 250 MW.

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