The situation is so bad that nearly two dozen thermal power plants are said to be having only a week’s coal stocks

The delay in arrival of monsoons, severe shortage of coal supplies to thermal power plants, fall in generation from hydro power projects and the rising demand of a growing economy have all led to very bleak power situation in the country. Even as Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde assured that things will improve in the next 15 days, the situation on ground looks quite different. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has already predicted a power shortfall of 10.5 per cent during 2012-13. “It is true that electricity is less in the country. This is summer season. Delhi and other big cities are affected. I am sure that in coming 15 days, the situation will be much better,’’ Mr. Shinde told reporters here.

According to official figures, the power shortfall stood at 13,653 MW. The total power requirement stood at about 1,29,017 MW, of which only 1,15,364 MW was met. However, officials admitted that the situation was worse and put the shortfall at around 17,500 MW, leading to scheduled and unscheduled cuts and powerless situation across the country.

Metro cities

What is even worse is that the metro cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai have been faced with long power cuts due to short supply of power. The situation is so bad that nearly two dozen thermal power plants are said to be having only a week’s coal stocks. Normally, thermal power stations should have one month’s stock. State-run Coal India Ltd. (CIL) has been unable to meet the demand for coal from various power utilities, resulting in shortage of dry fuel, impacting generation.

There was more bad news with NHPC stating that the delayed monsoon had led to 5-10 per cent drop in generation from hydro power projects. “Average data of the last 10 days indicate 5-10 per cent generation loss which is approximately 7-8 million units a day,’’ NHPC Chairman and Managing Director A. B. L. Srivastava said. At present, hydro power constitutes around 22 per cent of the total installed capacity of the country. In the South, power shortage has reached crippling proportions. The states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala are reeling under severe power shortage. While Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are faced with a shortage of 15 per cent, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh face a power deficiency of 19 and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

Karnataka requires 10,200 MW a month but is currently being supplied only 8,500 MW. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu has a demand of 12,000 MW but the supply is only 8,000 MW, leading to shortage of around 4,000 MW a day.

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