Power minister refutes reports of coal shortage, says ‘unnecessary panic’ created about outages
Meanwhile, governments in five states and the national Capital Delhi have undertaken measures to reduce power consumption amid fears of blackouts.
Union Power Minister RK Singh on Sunday claimed that there was no coal shortage and sufficient power was available in the country, NDTV reported.
“We are supplying power to the entire country,” he said. “Whoever wants [power], give me a requisition and I will supply them.”
Singh’s comments came even as governments in five states and the national Capital Delhi have undertaken measures to reduce power consumption amid shortages of coal supply in the country. and fear of blackouts.
The minister blamed Tata Power and Gas Authority of India Limited for causing “unnecessary panic” about power outages, News18 reported. He added that India had coal reserves for the next four to five days.
“I have warned Tata Power CEO [chief executive officer] of action if they send baseless messages to customers that can create panic,” he added, according to ANI. “Messages by GAIL and Tata Power qualify as acts of irresponsible behaviour.”
The Ministry of Coal also sought to dispel fears of power outages in the country. “Ample coal is available in the country to meet the demand of power plants,” the ministry said. “Any fear of disruption in power supply is entirely misplaced.”
Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi on Sunday said there was enough stock of the fuel to meet the demand for 24 days. “[I am] assuring everyone that there is absolutely no threat of disruption in power supply,” he tweeted.
There have been conflicting statements from the government about coal stocks.
On Saturday, the power ministry had acknowledged the shortages and listed reasons for it– an unprecedented demand of electricity and heavy rainfall in coal mining areas in September, among others. The situation of coal supply to power plants is likely to improve over the next few days, the ministry had said.
Coal generates about 70% of India’s electricity. Shortages of the fuel have left multiple states with supply enough to generate power only for a handful of days. In normal situations, states have a stock for 15 to 30 days. Last week, the power minister had had himself indicated that coal shortages in India could last six months.
Measures undertaken by state governments
Punjab: The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited on Saturday reduced power generation and imposed load shedding in parts of the state due to severe shortages at plants in the state, PTI reported.
Two units each at Talwandi Sabo power plant, Ropar plant and one unit at the Lehra Mohabbat have been shut.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has written to the Centre, asking to immediately increase the state’s coal supply as less than two days of stock is left with the power plants, The Indian Express reported.
Tamil Nadu: Coal supply with the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation could run out in four days, the Business Standard reported on Sunday.
Many cities, including capital Chennai were facing power cuts over the last few days. The state government has contacted the Centre and the Coal India Limited about the shortages.
Andhra Pradesh: The state’s Energy Department Secretary Nagulapalli Srikanth on Saturday urged citizens to avoid use of air conditioners between 6 pm and 10 pm, The New Indian Express reported.
In a letter to the prime minister, the state’s Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has flagged concerns about drying up of crops if irrigation pumps fail to operate due to power cuts, the Hindustan Times reported.
Rajasthan: The state government has announced scheduled power cuts for one hour every day to tackle the shortages in coal supply, according to the Hindustan Times.
Gujarat: The state government has signed power purchase pacts with private companies like Tata Power, Adani Power and Essar Power Gujarat for getting supply of 1,500 megawatts of electricity on a short-term and mid-term basis, the Times of India reported.
Delhi: Power Minister Satyender Jain on Saturday warned of a blackout in the city in the next two days unless coal supply to power plants increases. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwa has written to the prime minister demanding that adequate amount of coal should be supplied to plants such as Dadri-II and Jhajjar TPS that provide power to Delhi.