Seeking high-level intervention on the impact of coal shortage on Delhi’s power situation, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, as distribution companies raised the red flag on imminent load shedding,

“Delhi could face a power crisis. I am personally keeping a close watch over the situation. We are trying our best to avoid it. In the meanwhile, I wrote a letter to Hon’ble PM seeking his personal intervention,” Kejriwal said in a tweet on Saturday.

In the letter to PM Modi, Kejriwal said, “I draw your attention to the prevailing coal shortage situation that is continuing since August/September 21 for the third month in a row, which has affected the power generation from the major central generating plants, supplying power to the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”

“The CERC tariff regulations (regulations 34) mandate the generating stations to maintain a cold stock of 10 days and 20 days for pithead and non-pitheads stations, respectively.”

Referring to the daily coal report of the Central Electricity Authority, Kejriwal said NTPC (Dadri–II), which supplies Delhi 728 MW, has a coal stock left for a day as on October 5.

Similarly, Singrauli, and DVC (CTPS) stations that supply power to Delhi had coal stock lasting only for a day, while Jhajjar had stock for four days as on October 5. The Mejia station that supplies 100 MW power to the NCT of Delhi does not have any coal stock.

“Under this situation the dependency on gas station supplying power to Delhi increases. However, gas plants supplying power to Delhi do not have adequate APM gas to run at full capacity,” Kejriwal said in the letter.

Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), meanwhile, said Delhi may see rotational load shedding in the coming days. “Coal-based power stations supplying electricity to Delhi discoms have coal stocks to meet generation requirements for one-two days against 20 days as per applicable regulations,” TPDDL CEO Ganesh Srinivasan said in a statement today.

“As a result, Delhi might go through intermittent rotational load shedding. However, proactive steps by both Delhi as well as the Central government for handling the grim situation are under consideration,” Srinivasan added. TPDDL has appealed to customers in North and North West Delhi to use power ‘judiciously’ while efforts are being made to salvage the situation by arranging or diverting coal for power generation.

In the letter, Kejriwal urged PM Modi to divert coal from other plants to those supplying power to Delhi. He also pitched for administered price mechanism (APM) gas to be allocated to plants, including Bawana and Pragati-1, which supply power to Delhi.

“The above measures are essential to maintain uninterrupted power in Delhi, which is catering to strategic and important installations of national importance, apart from supplying power to essential services like cold chains for vaccination drives, hospitals, healthcare centres and Covid-care centres,” Kejriwal said in the letter. “In the interest of consumers of Delhi and the power sector, I request your kind intervention to resolve the current crisis at the earliest.”

The Ministry of Power, in a release on October 5, said power plants had an average stock of coal for about four days as on October 3. “However, this is a rolling stock, the coal is dispatched through rakes every day from coal mines to thermal power plants,” the release added.

Amid the coal shortage, the power ministry also constituted a core management team (CMT) on August 27 comprising representatives from the ministry, CEA, POSCO, railways and Coal India to ensure daily monitoring of coal stocks and dispatches.

In the wake of the post-Covid economic revival since August this year, demand for power has increased. Power consumption stood at 124 billion units in August 2021, up almost 20% from 106 billion units in August 2019. However since coal imports did not match the pace, it has led to supply shortage. Continuous rains in the coal belt in August and September have also led to lower dispatches from coal mines during this period.

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