Gujarat and Maha on the verge of energy shortage
Mixed signals: Maharashtra govt raises alarm, but generating stations claim supply is under control
The two major industrial states of the country – Maharashtra and Gujarat – could face an energy crunch, as domestic coal supply is running short and imported coalbased generation has been stopped. There were confusing signals from Maharashtra with the state’s energy department raising alarm while generating stations saying the power supply situation was under control. In Gujarat, where festive demand has kicked in, energy shortage has begun to seep in. Almost all the imported coal-based capacity in Gujarat, about 8 Gw, is shut, mostly owing to fuel shortage.
The two major industrial states of the country — Maharashtra and Gujarat — could face an energy crunch, as domestic coal supply is running short and imported coal-based generation has been stopped.
There were, however, confusing signals from Maharashtra with the state’s energy department raising alarm while generating stations saying the power supply situation was under control.
In Gujarat, where festive demand has kicked in, energy shortage has begun to seep in. Almost all the imported coal-based capacity in Gujarat, about 8 Gw, is shut, mostly owing to fuel shortage. This includes the Mundra units of the Adani Power and Tata Power and Essar’s Salaya unit. The two Mundra units were already not supplying because of regulatory tussles with the state government over tariff.
The state’s gas-based generation units with 6 Gw capacity were shut, according to data put out by a Union government portal. As on Saturday, the energy shortage in the state was 1.7 million units (MU), but officials attributed this to high festival demand. Officials also pointed out that Gujarat, anticipating an increase in demand in October, had signed up shortterm power contracts totalling 1.5 Gw for the October-december period.
Two domestic coal-run units of Gujarat have 11 and 22 days of coal and two others have three and seven days of coal. However, with demand increasing and shut imported units and gas plants, there is additional pressure on the domestic coal supply. The situation is grimmer in Maharashtra. Barring one, all the thermal power units in the state have six days or less of coal, which is classified as critical. Five units have one day of coal and three have no coal supply as on October 9.
There is currently no energy shortage in the state, but government officials have warned of power cuts in the coming days. Dinesh Waghmare, principal secretary, energy department, Maharashtra, told local media on Sunday, “We have been coping with the demand by purchasing power from the open market, but the demand goes up, we will have to go for load shedding.”
He further said their thermal power plants were running at 60 per cent capacity though the coal supply was expected to improve in the coming days. “Power demand during the peak hours in October goes up to 22,000 Mw and in such cases, we may have to go for shedding,” said Waghmare. The state’s energy department also appealed to consumers to conserve electricity during peak hours (from 6 am to 10am and 6pm to 10pm).
Mahesh Aphale, spokesperson of the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco), said it needs to have a minimum of seven days of coal. “The data clearly shows that we are in hand to mouth situation. This is the situation for the last one month. We are making up by using hydro power, but the issue of coal shortage stays,” he said.
Aphale said the central ministries needed to take a close look at the numbers as they were claiming there was no shortage. “Since October is still hot and festivals are lined up, demand will go up. We could manage so far because during rains demand is weak from the agriculture segment,” he added.
NTPC’S Nagpur plant, one of the biggest units of state-owned power generators in Maharashtra, said the coal situation was under control. “At our Nagpur plant we are getting coal from CIL and WCL regularly. Some quantities have reduced but nothing drastic. For the balance we are managing via contracted imported coal since we were supposed to procure that much quantity as per our contract. So, at Nagpur plant there is no issue at all,” said a spokesperson of NTPC, Nagpur.
Adani Electricity Mumbai (AEML) said sufficient coal supply arrangements have been made to sustain operations at the Dahanu Thermal Power Station, which is the main supplier to the discom. Further, the company said it has made adequate power purchase arrangements to meet 100 per cent of Mumbai’s power demand.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Adani Electricity’s consumers will continue to receive uninterrupted power supply with no disruptions expected in AEML’S licensed area.”