Published On : Mon, Oct 11th, 2021

MSEDCL mulls outages as coal crisis hits power generation

Citizens have been asked to scale down power consumption during the peak morning and evening hours

Nagpur: Following ‘unusual’ hot temperature prevailing in Nagpur and across the State and rising power demand, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has hinted at resorting to load-shedding. The deficit between growing power consumption and generation is now at nearly 3,000 MW. Coal scarcity is affecting power generation in the State.

Asking the consumers to scale down power consumption during the peak morning and evening hours, MSEDCL blamed low supply of coal for reduced power generation. MSEDCL has said that nearly 13 units are shut down due to coal scarcity and added that it is keeping alternative plans to avoid power outages in the State.

The coal crisis is widening and apart from State-run Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MahaGenco) plants, even private power producers and NTPC units are facing short supplies of coal. In view of this fact, the Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), MSEDCL, said there is a need to reduce power consumption from 6 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 10 pm. During this period, the demand for power is at the highest but current generation is failing to keep pace with the rising need. Already there is a deficit of 3300 MW, as total generation of power in the State is currently at 11,777 MW, this includes 5,672 MW of MahaGenco and 4,496 from Independent Power Producers (IPP) and 1,609 MW from Hydro.

According to reports, from the Central grid, MSEDCL share is 5,199 MW while it is drawing 5,268 MW to cope with increased demand in the State. Ample rains have ensured that State can run the Hydro units at full power till the thermal units are back in the grid while MSEDCL bosses are also trying spot purchases and power exchange. MSEDCL said thermal power generation has been declining for the last few days due to coal shortage across the country. Among the 13 sets of thermal power plants supplying power to MSEDCL that have been shut down due to lack of coal including MahaGenco’s Chandrapur, Bhusawal and Nashik units 210 MW each, Paras-250 MW and Bhusawal and Chandrapur’s 500 MW each have been shut down. Apart from this, four sets of 640 MW of Postal Gujarat Power Limited (Gujarat) and three sets of 810 MW of Ratan India Power Limited (Amravati) are also shut down. As a result, MSEDCL is getting less form the contracted power from thermal power plants, reports stated.

Though power is being procured from the open market to fill the gap of 3330 MW between demand and availability of electricity, the rates in the market have shot up considerably as across the country the shortage of coal has resulted in dip in the production. Due to the increase in demand for electricity across the country, the purchase price of electricity is becoming more expensive. About 700 MW of electricity is being procured from the open market at a rate of Rs 13.60 per unit. This morning, 900 MW of electricity was purchased at Rs 6.23 per unit through real time transactions. In addition, electricity is being provided through Koyna Dam as well as other small hydropower plants and non-conventional energy sources, the MSEDCL statement said.

Demand for electricity has also increased due to rising temperatures in the State as coal scarcity is getting worse. MSEDCL supplied 17,289 MW of electricity in the State (excluding Mumbai) on Saturday. Due to rains in some parts of the State in the last 24 hours demand for electricity eased providing relief to crisis managers. At 11.30 am on Sunday, there was a demand of 18,200 MW in the state and 15,800 MW in the working area of MSEDCL. MSEDCL said as shortage could increase in days to come, electricity should be sparingly used to balance the supply and demand. Reducing the consumption of electricity during the peak demand period will reduce the gap between demand and availability and there will be no need for load-shedding.