With about 24,000 MW power capacity stranded due to acute fuel crunch, Power Ministry has made a pitch for allocation of priority status to generation plants at par with fertiliser units, and will take up this matter for discussion at a high-level ministerial meeting.

Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has sought a date for the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers’ (EGoM) in this regard.

“I am seeking a date with Defence Minister A K Antony for discussing the change in priority of gas allocation,” he told reporters here.

At present, gas-based fertiliser plants get top most priority in allocation of scarce natural gas. They are followed by LPG-extraction units with gas-based power plants placed third in the priority list.

The gas-based power stations in the country are running at 35 per cent efficiency level due to shortage of gas as the production from RIL’s KG basin block has dropped sharply, to about 17 million standard cubic metres per day in March.

Heads of leading private power producers including Anil Ambani of Reliance Power, GM Rao of GMR Group, G V K Reddy of GVK Group and Madhusudhan Rao of Lanco, met Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily and the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, last month.

They said 15,000 MW of gas-based plants are getting gas supplies from domestic fields at less than 10 per cent of their operating capacity, making their operations unsustainable and unviable.

In addition, 8,700 MW of new gas-based capacities are stranded with no gas available for commissioning of plants.

Overall, about 24,000 MW of gas-based power plants are stranded due to gas shortage.

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