Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday met Power Minister RK Singh, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi along with officials of the Power and Coal Ministry amid reports of coal shortage in the country which could lead to a power crisis in the country. NTPC officials were also present in the meeting.
During the hour-long meeting, the three ministers were believed to have discussed the availability of coal to power plants and the current power demands.
Several states warn of power crisis
The meeting came in the wake of several states warning of a possible power crisis due to the shortage of coal supply to power plants, officials said.
According to the data, the power consumption of 3,900 MU on October 8 was the highest this month so far (from October 1 to 9) which also became a cause of concern during the ongoing coal shortage.
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 electricity production 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 the 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 172.41 GW 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 170.03 GW 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 were not adequate as there were 16 plants with a 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.
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.
Six plants with 6,730 MW capacity had coal stock for five days, while 10 plants with 11,540 MW capacity had coal for six days.
(With inputs from PTI)