The central government on Saturday assured the Delhi government that it would supply “all the necessary quantities of gas” to Bawana and Pragati stations after the Delhi government raised concerns about the shortage of coal at power stations. In view of the looming crisis, the Center also asked the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) to increase coal stocks equal to the national average at Dadri and Jajjhar stations “for full availability,” said the Union Power secretary in a press release.
The statement comes hours after the Delhi government said it only had a day of stock at the thermal power plant and the city could fall into darkness over the next few days. “There is a severe shortage of coal in coal-fired power plants across the country. There is only one day of stock left at the plants from which Delhi gets electricity, there is no coal at all.” Delhi Energy Minister Satyendra Jain said.
India is on the brink of a major energy crisis, as more than half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants have fuel stocks for less than three days, according to a Reuters report. Besides Delhi, several states, including Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, have also asked the Center for adequate supplies as they have raised similar concerns about low coal stocks.
At the same time, the Center said that the core management team, formed by the Union Ministry of Energy, closely monitors and manages coal stocks on a daily basis. The management body is also working to follow up actions with Coal India Limited and coordinate with “Indian Railways to improve coal supply to power plants,” he added.
The Energy Ministry says an “unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the recovery in the economy (after the second wave of Covid-19) and heavy rains in coal mining areas in September affected the production of coal, “which led to the crisis of power.
“Rising prices of imported coal resulting in dependence on domestic coal are causing the depletion of coal stocks in power plants,” he also said.
The main management team includes representatives from the Union Ministry of Energy, Central Electricity Authority, Electricity System Operating Company, Railways and Coal India Ltd for ensure daily monitoring of coal stocks and shipments.
Prices for power generation fuels are rising globally, as industrial growth drives up demand for electricity, leading to tight supplies of coal and liquefied natural gas.
(With contributions from the agency)