Amid high electricity demand due to summers and low coal availability at power plants, many parts across the country are facing blackouts and the power cuts are ranging from 2 hours to as much as 8 hours. Peak power shortage stands at as high as 10.29 gigawatts (GW). Here’s what you need to know about the issue so far:
Electricity Outages Across Many Parts of India
Various parts of the country are facing electricity cuts. Punjab, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh are mainly facing the issue.
However, Chhattisgarh has no shortage of power and Goa also procured additional power from the open market to meet demand. West Bengal is also able to meet the demand. Bihar is facing a power deficit of 200-300 Megawatts (MW) per day because of the sudden increase in demand. The state’s consumption is around 6,000 MW per day and the availability of power from different sources is 5,000 and 5,200 MW only.
Why There’re Power Outages
Various parts of the country are facing electricity cuts due to high demand in sweltering summer and acute coal shortages at power plants. Power demand in March touched an all-time high, as a large part of the country recorded the highest temperature on record during the month. In the national capital, a 72-year record was broken this April, with temperatures hitting 42.6 degrees Celsius on April 11.
The total electricity shortage in the country has hit 623 million units, surpassing the total shortage in March, according to news agency PTI.
The government says there is enough coal available to meet the demand. However, the lower availability of railway rakes to transport coal has led to coal inventories being at the lowest pre-summer levels in at least nine years. The fossil fuel produces 70 per cent of the country’s electricity.
Power Cuts: Going Forward
Union Power Minister R K Singh in a meeting this week asked all the power generation companies to operationalise their import-based power plants at full capacity to reduce pressure on domestic coal demand.
Among all the states Andhra Pradesh faces the worst power shortage. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the most affected states.
Andhra Pradesh Energy Secretary B Sridhar said the crisis will ebb soon. “The power distribution companies (discoms) are tying up for 30 MU from real-time markets to overcome the deficit. But still, there is a shortfall of some 20 MU as power is not adequately available in the market. Consequently, we are implementing restriction and control measures for the industrial sector.”
Haryana Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala said that uninterrupted power will be available to consumers within the next few days, while Odisha claimed its power crisis will be over by the end of April.