VIJAYAWADA: Even as the State faces a major power crisis due to the shortage of coal, Energy Department Secretary Nagulapalli Srikanth, on Saturday, appealed all to reduce the use of air-conditioners between 6.00 pm and 10.00 pm. Minimising the power demand would help the State to save 10 million units a day. Currently, the State has been purchasing power at a rate of Rs 13-14 from the market.
Urging the people to cooperate, the energy secretary said the State has been trying to tide over the crisis with out implementing power cuts. Speaking to reporters here, Srikanth said the public appeal was issued to avert trouble in the form of true-up charges and at the same time, lessen the gap between demand and supply.
There has been a 20% increase in power demand post-Covid, while it was 18% at the national level. During the past two years, the increase was only 12%. “Though there has been an increase in demand for power, the supply has been hit due to the international coal crisis, which is also having a telling impact on the State,” he said.
Thermal power units under GENCO, which has a capacity of 80 million units, have been generating only 40-45 million units a day due to the shortage of coal. Andhra Pradesh with no collieries, has been procuring the required coal from Singareni Collieries and Coal India Limited.
The Secretary explained that as per its green energy policy, Andhra Pradesh has not executed any power purchase agreements (PPAs) with thermal power plants and it has PPAs only with wind and solar energy plants. To meet the energy demand, it was relying on market purchases, which were being done on a need basis.
“Power is purchased on an hourly basis and payments are made on the spot. The surge price is normally high during peak load hours (6 pm. to 10 pm). Prices have been exponentially increasing over the past one month. On September 16, 40 million units were purchased for Rs 4.60 per unit and on September 17, 50 million units were purchased at Rs 5 per unit.
The cost per unit increased to Rs 6 on September 19 and to Rs 8.20 on September 28. It further increased to Rs 9.40 on September 30 and by October 4, it leaped to Rs 13 per unit. On October 5, the unit cost of power in the market was Rs 14.60,” he explained.
The gap between demand and supply, on Saturday, was about 2,000 megawatt. Out of 135 coal-fired units, more than 70% were facing a crisis and have limited coal reserves that would last only for 3-4 days. Srikanth explained that owing to operational costs -- higher than the market price -- the state has been purchasing power from the market.