October 26, 2021

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Oil ministry assures gas to power plants supplying to Delhi: Power secretary Alok Kumar

The oil ministry has assured that the required quantity of gas will be supplied to Bawana and Pragati stations that supply power to Delhi, power secretary Alok Kumar said on Saturday.

Kumar said the assurance has been given by petroleum secretary Tarun Kapoor.

Kumar said

has been directed to increase coal stocks equal to national average for Dadri and Jajjhar stations and ensure full availability.

The statement comes amid urgent requests by the Delhi government to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to ensure fuel supply to power plants to avoid mass blackouts.

Delhi distribution companies are not scheduling 750-Mw power from Dadri I as they want to exit PPA after 25 years. “They have been advised to schedule power,” Kumar said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said four power stations supplying close to 2 GW to Delhi have stock for one day or less. Gas plants supplying to the states do not have adequate (administered price mechanism) APM gas. “If this situation continues unabated, it would severely impact the power supply situation in Delhi,” Kejriwal said.

He said coal shortages for the third month in a row have hit power generation of major central power generating stations supplying electricity to Delhi.

Delhi’s Tata Power Delhi Distribution has also sent an SMS to its consumers asking them to use electricity judiciously during the afternoon peak hours of 2-6 pm as the country’s power plants reel under a massive coal shortage.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also wrote to Modi saying the situation is alarming as the cost of purchase from electricity exchanges has risen three times since September 15. While the rates in day-ahead and real-time markets have peaked at Rs 20 per unit at most times of day, power is not available at certain hours due to lower generation, he said.

He said fields in the state would dry up without water at the final stage of harvesting. Unplanned power cuts will lead to grid collapse similar to that in 2012. “It has become increasingly difficult for us to meet the grid demand and the circumstances are pushing us towards load shedding,” he said.

Reddy has sought 20 coal rakes per day for Andhra thermal stations and also an immediate revival of pit-head coal plants under insolvency. He has also sought direction to ONGC and Reliance Industries to provide gas to gas plants with a capacity of 2.3 GW in the state.

The Centre in a statement issued late on Saturday said the gap between coal supply and demand has reduced with Coal India dispatches reaching 1.501 million tonnes per day. The supplies are expected to improve further to 1.6 million tonnes per day in three days, it said.

This is against an average consumption of 1.7 million tonnes by power plants.

“Ministry of Coal and CIL (Coal India Ltd) have assured that they are making best efforts to increase dispatch to the power sector to 1.6 million tonnes per day in the next three days and thereafter try to touch 1.7 million tonnes per day. It is likely to help in gradual build up of coal stocks at the power plant in near future. The coal supply as well as consequent power situation is likely to improve,” the statement said.

Of the 165 GW of monitored domestic coal-fired plants, those with a capacity of 136 GW were operating at critical stock levels on October 7. While the average coal stock at power stations is four days against a norm of 14 days, as much as 106 GW of capacity is operating with stock for less than three days. Spot prices on the Indian Energy Exchange are averaging a record Rs 16 per unit and have even touched Rs 20 per unit at times.

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