Centre asks Kerala to hike generation in hydel units

Given the severity of the coal-shortage crisis, the Union Ministry of Power has asked Kerala to provide support by increasing generation in storage-based hydroelectric stations such as the 780-MW Idukki power project, especially during off-peak hours.

In an October 14 letter, the Power Ministry asked Chief Secretary V.P. Joy to issue the necessary directions for providing the support till October 31. By then, “the demand on thermal generating stations is likely to be normalised,” it said.

There is scope for increasing generation at storage-based hydel stations in the State such as the Idukki power project during 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the daytime off-peak hours, in addition to the peak hours, the Ministry noted.

Quantum not specified

With the coal situation likely to take time to stabilise, the Ministry is reportedly looking to meet the demand with “higher generation support” from other sources such as hydropower. However, the Ministry has not specified the quantum of electricity required for the Central pool or terms, State Power Department officials said.

The State is likely to respond to the letter by Saturday. It is understood that the Power Department and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) are, in general, amenable to the request. However, in return, the State is looking for support from the Ministry for meeting the soaring daily peak-hour demand.

“We are looking at, say, 100 MW, for meeting the peak-hour demand. Moreover, the Centre has not specified the terms or price for the supply of power to the Central pool,” a senior official of the State Power Department said.

Peak-hour shortage

Due to the coal crisis, Kerala has been faced with a shortage of approximately 300 MW during the evening peak hours (6 p.m. to 11 p.m.) in Central supply. Consequently, the State is spending an additional ₹2 crore daily on power purchases from the open market to make up for the shortfall, Electricity Minister K. Krishnankutty had noted earlier this week.

There is a strong feeling in the State’s power sector circles that the Centre should be capping prices in the power markets, given the seriousness of the coal crisis. Per-unit prices in the power exchange had shot up to ₹20 at one point, noted a KSEB official.

Earlier this week, Mr. Krishnankutty had ruled out load-shedding and power cuts in the State till October 19, when the power situation is set to undergo review. Following the dip in Central supply, the KSEB has already increased hydel generation. In recent days, internal hydel generation has accounted for over 40% of the daily consumption.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 10:37:30 PM |

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