VIJAYAWADA: In view of the unprecedented power demand and the severe shortage of coal for power generation, that has sent many states scrambling for electricity, the State government has emphasised not just on the need for power utilities to devise a long-term plan for sustainability of 24x7 power supply in the State but also for strengthening the sector to deal with any unexpected shortages and meet electricity demand in future.
The grid officials said AP Discoms, on April 29, have met 215.340 million units (MU) of power demand. The total demand met on the same day last year was 205.909 MU—a growth of 4.58 per cent. The peak power demand met during the day was 11,560 MW while in 2021 on the same day, it was 10,211 MW—registering a growth of 13.21 per cent.
On April 29, national power consumption hit a record of 207 gigawatts (GW) with peak hour deficit of 10.8 GW on April 28, the highest since 2012. While almost all the states in the country faced peak power shortage on the day, some overdrew heavy quantities of electricity from the grid to meet the demand and requested the Centre to make adequate coal available for thermal power plants. The State government also has approached the Centre for the same so that sufficient power can be generated to meet the rising demand in the State.
Minister for Energy Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy took stock of the situation with senior officials via teleconference and maintained that the crisis is temporary. Normalcy will be restored at the earliest, he said exuding confidence.
Pointing out that the State is dependent on Mahanadi coal fields and Singareni collieries as it does not have coal mines, Peddireddy noted that adequate coal is not available at thermal power plants due to various constraints at the national and international level. At the same time, he said, there is an unexpected rise in demand due to abnormal increase in temperatures.
“As a result, the power purchase cost has hit a record high in the last ten years. Apart from coal shortage, limited availability of power in the open market has forced the utilities to impose restrictions on the industries,” the minister explained.
Stating that wind power generation is likely to increase from May 15 in states that are rich in renewable energy (RE), including AP, he said this will lead to a rise in the availability of power and further ramp up wind power generation by the end of the month.”
The energy minister said power demand and supply situation is being monitored and reviewed on a daily basis as directed by the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, adding every effort is being made to ensure uninterrupted power supply to priority sectors.“Our ultimate objective is to provide 24x7 power supply on a sustainable basis and to strengthen the power sector for the State’s economic development”, he said.
In view of the severe paucity of coal, Energy Secretary B Sreedhar said AP Power Development Corporation Limited (APPDCL) has already invited tenders for 1 lakh tonnes of imported coal to double the power generation at the Krishnapatnam Thermal Power Plant from the current 800 MW.
As per the directions of the Power Ministry, Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO) and APPDCL will invite tenders for 18 lakh tonnes and 13 lakh tonnes of imported coal respectively. The entire process is likely to be completed in a month to meet electricity requirements.
To deal with the power shortage, the energy minister has specifically directed APGENCO to commission phase-2 of the 800-MW thermal power plant at Krishnapatnam either by the end of month end or by the first week of June.
Directing power utilities to take cost-effective measures, Peddireddy said, “We are one of the best states in the country in reducing the transmission & distribution losses and we must be the top State in loss reduction”. Officials informed the minister that APEPDCL has reduced distribution transformer (DTR) failures to 3.14 per cent in financial year 2021-22 from 5.47 per cent in 2018-19.
In APSPDCL area, DTR failures have come down to 4.96 per cent in Financial Year 2021-22 from 6.09 per cent in 2018-19. The DTR failures in APCPDCL area have dropped to 4.44 per cent in FY 2021-22 from 4.62 per cent in 2018-19.