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12 States sitting on 'low coal stock'

Unable to feed power plants, facing energy crisis, warns AIPEF

Coal stocks at non-pithead plants low at 26% of normative level

Coal stocks at non-pithead plants low at 26% of normative level

Power Demand At 38-Yr High

- AP, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Jharkhand and Haryana facing power cuts

- Telangana, TN, MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh also in shortage of power, but data not available

- Coal-based power generation rose 3.12% to 1,00,276 mn units in March

- AIPEF urges Centre to replenish coal inventory at thermal power stations

New Delhi: The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Monday warned of an energy crisis in 12 States amid 'low coal stock' to fire thermal power plants.

A coal crisis is being witnessed in 12 states post October 2021, the AIPEF said in a statement. "AIPEF has drawn the attention of Central and state governments towards the depleting coal inventory of domestic thermal power plants and has warned of an impending energy crisis in 12 States," it added.

The power crisis could worsen owing to the low coal stock to fire thermal power units, AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey said in the statement. In the first half of April 2022, the domestic power demand hit a 38-year high for the month. While there was 1.1 per cent power shortage in October 2021, this shortfall shot up to 1.4 per cent in April 2022, he said. States like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Jharkhand and Haryana are facing power cuts, Dubey said, adding, "I urge the government to take immediate steps to replenish the coal inventory in thermal power stations to avert the crisis situation."

In Uttar Pradesh, power demand has reached 21,000 megawatt, while the supply is around 19,000 MW to 20,000 MW, he claimed. According to the statement, the 2,630-MW Anpara Thermal Power Project, located at Sonebhadra in Uttar Pradesh, is at the pit head of a coal mine. There should be 5.96 lakh tonnes of coal in stock at Anpara, whereas at present it has only 3.28 LT. Similarly, the Harduaganj project should have 4.97 LT of coal in stock, but has only 65,700 tonnes. The Obra plant in the state should have 4.45 LT in stock, while there is about 1 LT of coal stock left with it. Speaking to PTI over phone, Dubey said, "this situation has arisen due to the lack of foresight of the management. In October last year, Parichha thermal power station had to be closed due to coal shortage."

According to Dubey, other States which are facing a coal crisis are Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. However, the association did not provide consolidated data of coal stock across various power plants in these 12 States. Coal-based power generation rose 3.12 per cent to 1,00,276 million units in March compared to the year-ago period, according to official data.

Thermal power generation stood at 97,238 MU (Million Units) in the same period a year ago. In February this year, it stood at 85,534 MU. Coal accounts for over 70 per cent of the country's electricity output and utilities account for around 75 per cent of country's coal consumption. According to the monthly statistics (provisional) of the coal ministry, coal-based power generation registered a growth of 35 per cent in March this year compared to March 2020. The rise was 3.12 per cent compared to the power generation witnessed in March 2021. In March this year, the overall power generation was 29.02 per cent higher than the power generated in March 2020 and 6.35 per cent more than power generated in March 2021.

"Total power generation has also increased in March 2022 to 1,33,584 MU from 1,12,531 MU in February 2022," as per the ministry. Meanwhile, there are reports of coal shortages due to rising demand for electricity with the onset of summer season. Recently, Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut blamed the Centre for poor management of coal supply and railway racks, and claimed shortage of coal stocks in the state. On Saturday, the coal ministry said Maharashtra has received more coal from the Centre in the current month compared to last month and the supply has increased in tandem with the rise in demand for electricity. The ministry had stressed that there may be issues of gas-based generation and of hydro power, but from the coal perspective there is "no criticality". In October last year, many states complained about shortage of coal for power plants and some of them also faced electricity outages for several hours a day.

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