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India

Updated on: Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 11:13 PM IST

Coal Crisis: Centre raps state govts of selling power at high price on exchange instead of supplying to consumers

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The Centre on Tuesday accused some state governments of imposing rolling power cuts known as load-shedding and not supplying power to consumers; rather, they were profiting by selling electricity to the power exchange by taking advantage of surging prices.


The power ministry said the states engaged in such malpractices will lose the "unallocated power" from the central generating stations (CGS) and the same will be allocated to other needy states.

It said 15% of the power produced by the central generating stations is meant to be used by the needy states to meet the requirements of their consumers. It said the power distribution companies are required to first serve their consumers, who have the right to receive 24x7 power supply and not starve them by selling it to the power exchange.


"The States have therefore been requested to use the ‘unallocated federal power’ for supplying electricity to the consumers of the State. In case of surplus power, the States have been requested to intimate to the Government of India so that this power can be reallocated to other needy States," the power ministry added.

Many states have expressed concern about coal shortage -- believed to be the result of rain affecting the movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units. States that have flagged a crisis are Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu.

On Tuesday the government assured that there was enough supply to meet the nation's power needs. Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said India currently has 22 days of coal stock and the supply is increasing. "We want to assure the whole country that coal will be made available as per requirement," he said.

But Joshi also accused some states of refusing to augment their coal stocks when the Centre had requested them to do so. Coal India had been writing to power plants since October 2020, advising that surplus coal is available and asking them to restock their reserves. ‘‘This year till June we were requesting them to increase their stock; however, some of them went on to say that ‘please do a favour, don’t send coal now’," he explained.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the government is “lying" about the coal crisis. “If they are saying that there is no shortage of coal then they are lying. There is a severe shortage."

Joshi and Union Power Minister RK Singh have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss ways to resolve the shortage.

Sources said PMO also reviewed the situation and PM Modi is expected to take certain decisions towards finding a long-term solution, reports NDTV.

To add to the crisis, power plants that use imported coal have also either reduced their output or have completely stopped generating power because of a spurt in international energy prices.

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Published on: Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 11:13 PM IST
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