Centre takes steps to avert power shortage in summer

The ministry has received committment from railways to provide 418 rakes to transport coal and directed all imported coal-based plants to run at full capacity.  
Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo)

NEW DELHI: The government is taking a slew of measures to ensure that the country doesn’t face coal and power shortage in summers. Power ministry has asked plants to undertake maintenance of their plants well in advance. The ministry has received committment from railways to provide 418 rakes to transport coal and directed all imported coal-based plants to run at full capacity.  

It has also been decided that in case of power shortage, gas-based power would be used to meet any peak demand.  These decisions were taken in a meeting held by power minister R K Singh with all stakeholders on March 7, 2023. In the meeting, detailed discussions took place on various aspects to meet the high electricity demand in April and May. This year, the government expects the peak electricity demand to be about 229 GW in these two months.

Singh directed the power utilities to undertake maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance so that no planned maintenance is required during the crunch period. The railway agreed to provide 418 rakes to different subsidiaries of Coal India and captive blocks. The railway department can enhance the number of rakes in due course so that sufficient coal stock can be maintained at power plants.

The ministry has already invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, which mandates all imported coal-based (ICB) power plants like Tata Power and Adani Power plants in Mundra, Gujarat; Essar power plant in Salaya; JSW Ratnagiri to run at full capacity. It had also asked the power gencos to blend imported coal up to 6% of their requirement till September 2023.

Last year, the country faced a power crisis due to coal shortage. However, the coal ministry always maintained it had sufficient coal but no way of transporting it. In the meeting, Singh also directed NTPC to run its 5000 MW gas-based power stations during the crunch period in April-May. 

No coal shortage in country: Secretary 
NEW DELHI: There is no coal shortage in the country and the current stock is sufficient for about 44 days, said coal secretary Amrit Lal Meena on Thursday. As per the coal ministry, right now around 100 million tonne (MT) of domestic coal is available in the country which includes 64 MT at mine pithead, 6 MT in transit at good sheds, washery and ports and 31 MT at thermal power plants. The average daily consumption of coal for plants is 2.3 MT  a day.  The current daily production in the country is about 3.3 MT a day from coal mines, which is much more than the daily consumption at thermal power plants. Meena added that the ministry will start bidding process for 138 new coal mines in April.  ENS

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