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Lack of coal, gas robbed India of 7 billion units

Poor despatch from Coal India, dwindling KG gas saw a peak power shortage of 9% during April to June period

Published: 14th August 2012 09:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2012 11:26 AM   |  A+A-

Acute coal shortage, due to depleted imports and gas to fire the turbines being reduced to a trickle, has led the country to suffer a generation loss of nearly seven billion units in the April-June quarter this year, Minister of State for Power, KC Venugopal told the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The situation of coal stocks is so critical that 33 out of 89 power plants in India have super critical coal stocks — meaning these thermal power plants barely have coal stocks that can keep its plants running for just four days.

The Central Electricity Authority, the apex watchdog that monitors India’s power plants, has reported that most of the plants that have super critical or critical stock positions because of less receipt of coal from Coal India. These include plants like Badarpur Thermal Power Stations (TPS), Unchahar TPS, Ukai TPS, Bhusawal TPS and Talcher TPS. About 17 power stations are suffering from near depleted stock due to less imports.

Meanwhile, the gas-run power plants have also suffered as Reliance Industries’  (RIL) Eastern offshore KG-D6 gas field’s output has dropped to 29 units as against a planned 80 million units leading to short supply of gas-run power stations in several western Indian states.          

“During April-June 2012 the power utilities have reported a generation loss of about 2.9 billion units due to shortage of coal and 4 billion units due to shortage of gas,” Venugopal said.

Overall, the country witnessed a peak power shortage of 9% from April to June this year. Peak power deficit is the shortfall in generation capacity during the time when the electricity consumption is the maximum.

There is an overall shortage of power in the country in terms of energy and peaking power. The shortage varies from state to state on month to month, day to day and hour to hour basis depending upon the demand and supply of power, he said.

The government expects to generate around 9,20,000 MUs of electricity this fiscal,  according to official data. Out of the total  7 60 000 MUs would be from coal-based plants. It plans to harness the hydro power potential of the country by adding over 1,22,000 million units during the same period.

The government has also proposed to add 1 lakh MW of electricity in the next five years, from all sources of energy.

According to Planning Commission estimates, the country’s energy supply needs to grow at 6.5% annually if the nation has to achieve annual economic growth of 9% during the current Plan period (2012-17).

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