NEW DELHI :
WITH States from Delhi to Andhra Pradesh sending warnings of a developing power crisis due to shortage of coal, the Central Government on Sunday pressed all resources at its command to ensure power plants have enough feedstock to generate electricity. While Union Power Minister R K Singh reviewed the coal stock position at all thermal power plants, including those units that supply electricity to distribution companies in the national capital, the Ministry of Coal said “ample coal is available in the country to meet the demand” and “any fear of disruption in power supply is entirely misplaced”. In a year when the country produced record coal, excessive rains in coal producing belt hit movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units, impacting power generation in many States including Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh.
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. Tata Power, which has signed contracts to supply 1,850 MW of electricity to Gujarat, 475 MW to Punjab, 380 MW to Rajasthan, 760 MW to Maharashtra and 380 MW to Haryana from its imported coal-based power plant at Mundra in Gujarat, has stopped generation. After Singh’s review of coal stock position, the Power Ministry in a statement said the total despatch of coal from all sources (Coal India Limited, Singareni Collieries Company, Captive Coal Mines and imported coal) on October 9 was 1.92 million tonnes (19.2 lakh tonnes) against the total consumption was 1.87 million tonnes (18.7 lakh tonnes).