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Heat’s on. Power supply, maybe not

  • The national capital could be headed for an electricity crisis at a time when the sizzling summer heat shows no sign of abating. Delhi government has warned about a power shortage in the city because the thermal power stations supplying electricity to Delhi are facing a problem in the supply of coal. Delhi gets 2,325 MW from coal-based generating plants and the supply is currently down to 1,355 MW. It could touch a low of 490 MW, a massive deficiency when the peak demand is expected to remain around 7,000 MW.

  • A worried Satyendar Jain, Delhi’s power minister, has written to the Centre about the possibility of the city being adversely affected by this sudden demand-supply gap. Saying that the thermal power plants in Dadri and Badarpur were facing a shortfall in coal supply, Jain wrote that it appeared “this coal shortage is due to non-availability of transportation rakes/wagons with Indian Railways”. He asked Union minister for coal and railways Piyush Goyal to intervene and give “immediate attention” to the problem to prevent load shedding in the capital or major grid incidents.

  • Talking to reporters, Jain said on Friday that the situation had to be resolved before it got to that point. “Normally, we have coal reserves at the plants for around 15 days. But for the past 15 days, we have had no reserve,” he said.

  • A government official added, “The availability of power from Badarpur, Dadri I and Dadri II plants has reduced by 970 MW. If the situation worsens, as is likely, and Dadri I and II and one unit of Badarpur plant are closed down, the availability will go down to a mere 490 MW. This means the total supply to Delhi from these plants will go down by 1,835 MW.”

  • Delhi’s peak demand has already crossed 6,000 MW and the power distribution companies hinted it could even breach the 7,000 MW mark. “The peak demand on May 24 last year was 5,026 MW. This year on the same day, it was 6,029 MW, so we have to be prepared for contingencies,’’ a discom executive said.

  • This new problem comes in the wake of some grid niggles. Two of the main grid lines feeding Delhi — one circuit of Agra-Gwalior 765 kV transmission line and both circuits of Agra-Jhatikara 765 kV transmission line — are under shutdown. A government official said, “Due to this outage, power being sourced from alternate sources under the power exchange and bilaterals also gets curtailed.”

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