Mumbaikars will have to pay 15 per cent more for electricity from April, even as power companies across India are poorly equipped to face rising demand. Air conditioners and refrigerators are turned on all day after March and April, when mercury starts rising across Indian cities. But Indian power companies have fuel stocks only equivalent to 12 days of consumption, which will lead to blackouts.
Last year parts of India struggled with power cuts during warmer summers since it had coal only equaling consumption for 8 days. Although this year firms have more fuel than 2022, its a lot lower than 2020 and 2021, when they had coal for 18 and 19 days of consumption respectively. The demand will rise from April to September, because while demand for ACs and refrigeration will increase, rains will dampen coal production.
Even though output from mines between October and December 2022 went up by 18 million tonnes as compared to the same period in 2021, coal transported to power plants via trains only increased by 1 million tonnes. This is because the number of trains with coals sent towards power generators increased only marginally from 256 to 258. Because of this, the amount of the fossil fuel used by power generators surpassed the coal coming in by as much as 3 lakh tonnes per day.
Coal imports will also be scaled up to be blended with the domestic output, in order to avoid a power shortage and outages in the country.
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