Staff Reporter :
Within 24 hours of MSEDCL ringing alarm bells across Maharashtra by hinting at prospect of load-shedding, now MahaGenco claims there is no need to panic
Just a day after Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) set off a storm by indicating possibility of load-shedding, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MahaGenco) has now rushed to cool off the heat saying coal supply is improving and it is ready to tackle scarcity. In a release, State-run MahaGenco said, “Now that supply of coal has normalised, we are taking steps to bring 500 MW unit at Bhusawal on-line.” The contradictory stance of two State-run power companies has, however, set tongues wagging whether co-ordination is missing at the MSEB Holding Company. MahaGenco also mentioned that due to short supply of coal it had to shut down 210 and 500 MW units at Bhusawal, one 500 MW at Chandrapur plant and another 210 MW at Paras. Thus a decision was taken to rationalise the coal supply leading to dip in thermal power generation in the State.
But with normalisation of the coal supply now the Bhusawal unit is being stepped-up to start production. The addition of 500 MW will improve the supply of position and lead to shortening of gap with demand that has shot up substantially. At present, the supply of coal for power generation has improved to 90,000 to 1 lakh MT per day, that MahaGenco said is enough to meet the current increased demand. The stance of MahaGenco is in sharp contrast to its sister company MSEDCL who had even issued an appeal to consumers to rationalise power usage in two slots, 6 to 10 in morning and 6 to 10 in evening, to help them manage the grid and maintain balance during the peak time. MSEDCL had claimed that about 13 thermal power plants in Maharashtra were forced to cease production after coal supplies dropped. Now, MahaGenco said they are using Hydropower plants to their full potential as a solution to the coal shortage. About 1900 MW per day is being produced from various hydro units to help tide over the thermal power shortage. By generating hydropower, power supply is maintained at peak demand. Also wind and solar production are also helping meet the demand along with increased drawing from Central pool.
MahaGenco claims that coal supplies are affected during the rains every year and drop in thermal power production has to be read in that context. This year the extended season added to the problem as supplies lines were choked part from making the coal wet and sticky. The siding of railways near to mines also affects loading of the coal and the changing pattern of rainfall, it falls as if there is no tomorrow and the deluge in short period resulted in flooding. Coal stocks fell sharply in August this year due and around same time the rainfall gathered steam. Coupled with that there was sudden jump in demand for electricity as the scattered pattern of rains resulted in humidity and thus power guzzling gadgets like air conditioners were switched on quite early. Also the demand from industrial units too shot up considerably as markets gained momentum due to clear cut policy on lockdown that was eased in all sectors. Due to all these factors the current shortage in generation had arisen. However, given the improved daily supply of coal, the situation of coal scarcity is certainly not worrisome, MahaGenco has noted. The company further claimed that they are keeping an eye on the situation closely and monitoring the demand and ensuring that there is no shortfall in power supplies.