Mumbai: Coal shortage is pushing Maharashtra into the heart of darkness. So far, 13 thermal power generation plants supplying power to the state power distribution company MahaVitaran have been shut down, cutting off 3,330MW power supply. Efforts are being made to supply power using hydropower and other sources along with immediate procurement, to fill the power gap. MahaVitaran has a consumer base of 2.87 crore, 75 per cent or 2.15 crore of those being residential consumers, using 20 per cent power.
MahaVitaran sources said that it was making strenuous efforts to prevent load-shedding in the state and has appealed to consumers to keep usage of electricity to a minimum during the peak hours of 6am to 10am and 6pm to 10pm, in a serious bid to balance the demand and the availability of power. The discom has further said that reduction in power consumption during peak periods will reduce the gap between demand and availability and there will be no need for load-shedding.
Daily, Maharashtra needs 1,49,000 metric tonnes of coal for power generation plants to run at 85 per cent capacity but is now getting less than 70,000 metric tonnes. MahaGenco’s seven coal-based power generation plants have just enough stock to last for 0.72 day to 1.62 days. MahaGenco’s Koradi 2,400MW plant, has stock for 0.72 day, Parli (750MW) 0.77 days, Paras (500 MW) 0.95 days, Bhusawal (1,210MW) 0.99 days, Khaparkheda (1,340MW) 1.02 days, Nashik (630MW) 1.57 days and Chandrapur (2,920 MW) 1.62 days.
MahaVitaran is being forced to procure power at higher costs, with prices having shot up to more than Rs 20 per unit. MahaVitaran on Sunday procured 700 MW of electricity from the open market at Rs 13.60 per unit and another 900 MW at Rs 6.23 per unit through real-time transactions. In addition, electricity is being supplied through MahaGenco’s Koyna Dam, as well as other small hydropower plants and non-conventional energy sources.
As MahaVitaran scrambles to avoid power shortage, Energy Minister Nitin Raut said all efforts were underway to procure power from the market to meet the demand until generation is restored following restoration of coal supply.
The rising coal shortage due to drastic fall in supply is coupled with the increasing demand for electricity because of a surge in temperatures in the state. On Saturday (October 9), MahaVitaran supplied 17,289MW in the state, excluding Mumbai, as per the demand. Rains in various parts of Maharashtra have reduced the demand for electricity. On Sunday at 11.30am, demand for electricity in the state was recorded at 18,200MW of which 15,800MW was in the MahaVitaran’s area of operations.
In order to avoid load-shedding as per the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s order, the MahaVitaran supplies power to agricultural lines for eight hours daily or at night.