Power sector in the State is facing a piquant situation that holds the potential of turning into a crisis in the coming months thanks to the local agitations and transport problems in Odisha.
Power generation from the 2000 MW (4X500 MW) NTPC Simhadri power plant in Visakhapatnam has almost stopped for want of coal from the Talcher coal fields in Odisha.
The State gets dedicated supply of 1,000 MW from the central generating station while a portion of the balance power would be allocated depending on the need.
While a shortfall of 800 MW is already being experienced, senior officials are apprehensive that the Central Government may shut down operations of one unit (500 MW) if the situation continues in the coming days.
A major part of the NTPC plant’s requirement is being met from Talcher coal fields which supply 28,000 tonne of the total 35,000 tonne requirement.
The shortfall is, however, not felt as of now as the demand had come down significantly due to monsoon and copious rains in the recent cyclones that filled the reservoirs to the brim enabling the utilities to generate 5,000 million units hydro power this year compared to the normal generation of 2,000 MU.
The current demand, according to officials, was around 210 MU that could be met from a judicious mix of thermal and hydel generation at least for the next one month.
But the situation could change as the demand was likely to increase steeply as rabi season peaks and summer months approach. Energy Department special chief secretary M. Sahoo directed the officials to maintain sufficient water in the reservoirs to meet the requirement.
Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty, who also chairs the State Energy Conservation Mission, addressed letter to NTPC authorities to take steps to sort out the issues and ensure that there was no disruption in coal supply to the NTPC plant.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy too had decided to write a letter to the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry seeking additional allocation of natural gas from the ONGC fields off the State’s coast for gas-based power plants to meet the requirements.
The Chief Secretary asserted that the Government was committed to provide seven-hour free power to farm sector in the rabi season too.