Power consumption dipped by nearly 2 per cent or by 72 million units (MU) to 3,828 MU on Saturday compared to 3,900 MU on Friday, showing slight improvement in supply situation across the country amid coal shortage crisis, according to the power ministry data.
According to the data, the power consumption of 3,900 MU on Friday or October 8 was the highest this month so far (from October 1 to 9), which also became cause of concern among the ongoing coal shortage crisis in the country.
On Saturday, Tata Power arm Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (DDL) which operates in North and Northwest Delhi, had sent phone messages to its consumers saying, “Due to limited coal availability in generation plants across the north, power supply scenario between 2-6 pm is at critical level. Kindly use electricity judiciously. Be a responsible citizen. Inconvenience caused is regretted – Tata Power-DDL.”
This was the fallout of coal shortage at power plants in a year when the country produced record coal, but rains hit movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units, impacting power generation in many states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
Another factor that has contributed to the present crisis is power plants that used imported coal to generate electricity, have either curtailed generation or completely stopped as a spurt in international energy prices has made it difficult for them to meet the commitments to states at a particular rate.
The ministry of power in a statement issued on Saturday had said, “It was noted that on 7th October, 2021 total dispatch of coal by Coal India limited (CIL) touched 1.501 MT thereby reducing the gap between consumption and actual supply.
The Ministry of Coal and CIL have assured that they are making best efforts to increase dispatch to the power sector to 1.6 MT per day in the next three days and thereafter try to touch 1.7 MT per day. It is likely to help in gradual build up of coal stocks at power plants in near future. The coal supply as well as consequent power situation is likely to improve.”
According to the data, the peak power demand met or the highest electricity supply in day touched 172.41GW on October 8. This is the highest peak power demand met from October 1 to 9.
The data also showed that peak power demand met slowed to 170.03GW on Saturday, October 9, indicating that the power demand is moderating with the onset of autumn.
The latest available data of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) showed that coal stocks at power plants on October 7, 2021, was not adequate as there were 16 plants with cumulative capacity of 16,880 MW which had the dry fuel for zero days.
Besides, as many as 30 plants with 37,345 MW capacity had coal for just one day and 18 plants with 23,450 MW capacity had coal for two days as of October 7, 2021.
There were 19 plants with 29,160 MW capacity which had coal for three days and nine plants with 7,864MW capacity had coal for four days. There were six plants with 6,730MW capacity had coal stock for five days while 10 plants with 11,540MW capacity had coal for six days.
While one plant with 2,270 MW capacity had coal for seven days, another power plant with 920 MW capacity had coal for eight days.
The coal stock data for October 7, 2021, also showed that there were 69 non-pithead plants which had coal stock for less than four days and categorised as supercritical stock. Besides there were 23 plants which had coal for less than seven days and categorised at critical stock.
The CEA monitors 135 coal-based thermal power plants with cumulative capacity of over 165GW.
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