Coal shortage: States scramble for power supply as 115 out of 135 power plants facing crunch

The shortage of coal which is resulting in a fuel crisis for India’s power sector has led to several states scrambling for power. Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have announced power cuts while Maharashtra is appealing people to use electricity sparingly. More details here.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: October 12th, 2021

A total of 13 thermal power plants that supply power to Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MSERC) are shut due to coal shortage.

In its coal stock report dated October 10, the Central Electricity Authority has mentioned that a total of 115 out of 135 thermal power stations across the country are facing an acute shortage of coal. 

In the report accessed by Gaon Connection, it is mentioned that the stock of coal at these 115 power plants is not expected to last more than six days. 

Explained: Is coal shortage leading to a ‘power crisis’ in India?

The coal supply deficit has led many states to undertake measures to ensure that the situation does not worsen to blackouts. Punjab, for instance, has decided to source power generated from Tata’s Mundra power plant for a week. 

Source: Central Electricity Authority

Tata’s Mundra thermal power plant is located in Gujarat’s Kutch district and uses imported coal for power generation. As of now, it is reported that a final confirmation from Tata is still awaited.

A total of 13 thermal power plants that supply power to Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MSERC) are shut due to coal shortage. 

The thermal power units that are presently shut are Mahagenco’s Chandrapur, Bhusawal and Nashik plants of 210 megawatts  (MW) each, Paras-250 MW and Bhusawal and Chandrapur’s 500 MW each. 

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Additionally, power generation at the four units of 640 MW of Postal Gujarat Power Limited (Gujarat) and three units of 810 MW of Ratan India Power Limited (Amravati) is presently suspended.

As per Vijay Singhal, Chairman and Managing Director of MSEDCL, the situation is supposed to ease and the coal supply would return to normalcy. At present, the state is purchasing electricity at an expensive cost of  Rs 20 per unit from the open market.

Measures being taken to limit power consumption

Maharashtra’s MSERC has appealed to the public in Maharashtra to sparingly consume electricity from 6 am to 10 am and from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Apart from this Tamil Nadu has suspended electricity supply in parts of Chennai from 9 am to 4 pm while citing ‘maintenance work’ as the reason. 

Similar is the situation in Rajasthan where the government is resorting to daily power cuts for an hour.