Friday, May 13, 2022

AIPEF warns govt of energy crisis in 12 states due to low coal stock, seeks action

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  • A coal crisis is being witnessed in 12 states once again after October 2021, said the AIPEF Chairman
  • While there was 1.1 percent power shortage in October 2021, this shortfall shot up to 1.4 percent in April 2022

New Delhi: Drawing the attention of the Central and state governments towards the depleting coal inventory at domestic thermal power plants, the All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) has warned of an impending energy crisis in 12 states. AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey has said on Monday that the power crisis could worsen owing to low coal stock to fire thermal power units. “A coal crisis is being witnessed in 12 states once again after October 2021,” he said, adding that in the first fortnight of April 2022, domestic power demand hit a 38-year high for the month. While there was 1.1 percent power shortage in October 2021, this shortfall shot up to 1.4 percent in April 2022.”

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Jharkhand and Haryana are facing power cuts ranging from 3 to 8.7 per cent, he said. Dubey has urged the government to take immediate steps to replenish the coal inventory in thermal power stations to avert the crisis situation. The AIPEF has said that thermal power generation is likely to be affected due to coal  shortage as had happened in October last year.

Energy crisis in Uttar Pradesh

The power demand in Uttar Pradesh (UP) has reached 21,000 MW and the supply is around 19,000 MW to 20,000 MW, said Dubey. “Though there is no serious coal crisis in thermal power plants operated by Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam, their reserve stock is only 26 percent of the standard norm. The situation is likely to turn difficult with the increase in the demand for electricity with the rise in mercury level,” he added.

The Anpara Thermal Power Project in UP, with a capacity of 2,630 MW, is at the pit head of the coal mine. According to the norms laid down by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), there should be coal for 17 days. The other projects are Harduaganj of 1,265 MW, Obra of 1,094 MW and Parichha of 1,140 MW, said Dubey. “Since coal is not at the pit head of the mine, there should be 26 days’ coal stock as per the standard norm,” he added.

According to the records, 5.96 lakh metric tonnes of coal should be in stock in Anpara, whereas at present it has only 3.28 lakh MT. Harduaganj should have 4.97 lakh MT of coal in stock but has only 65,700 MT of coal. Obra should have 4.45 lakh MT, while there is only a little over one lakh MT of coal stock left with it. There should be 4.30 lakh MT of coal in Parichha, but only 12,900 MT coal is in stock.

In contrast to about 19.69 lakh MT of coal stock in all four thermal power projects, they have only 5.11 lakh MT of coal which is only 26 percent of the standard norm.

The daily consumption of coal at Anpara is 40,000 MT, but only 29,000 metric tons of coal is available with it. Harduaganj has 15,000 MT coal against 17,000 MT requirement, Obra has 11,000 MT against 12,000 MT requirement and Parichha has only 4,000 MT of coal against a requirement of 11,000 MT, said the AIPEF Chairman. Parichha generates 910 MW power and it has only one day’s coal so the production has been reduced to 500 MW.

Lack of foresight behind energy crisis in UP: AIPEF

Dubey said that this situation has arisen due to the lack of foresight of the management. He said that in October last year, Parichha thermal power station had to be closed due to coal shortage.

Dubey said that UP got the cheapest electricity from Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam at only Rs 1.74 per unit from the Anpara project. He said in such a situation, it was necessary that the mistake of September-October 2021 was not repeated and coal stock was ensured in thermal power stations as per the requirement. He said that if state-run power plants were to be closed due to coal shortage then the government would have to buy power at exorbitant rates of over Rs 12 per unit from the power exchange.

Surging international coal prices affect availability of coal

Union Power Minister RK Singh has blamed the steep rise in the prices of imported coal due to the Russia-Ukraine war for the coal crisis, as well as a lack of adequate availability of railway wagons to transport coal to power stations. For coal supply to the thermal power stations of the country, 453 rakes are required whereas only 379 rakes were available in the first week of April. 

Dubey said that the demand for coal had increased by 9 percent as compared to last year and only eight days’ coal was left in thermal power stations in 12 states of the country.

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