Maharashtra may face power outages as due to shortage of coal, 13 thermal power generation plants supplying power to the state power distribution company MahaVitaran have been shut down. As a result, 3330 MW power supply has been cut off. Efforts are being made to provide power supply from hydropower and other sources along with immediate procurement to fill the power gap. MahaVitaran sources said that it is making strenuous efforts to prevent load shedding in the state and has appealed to consumers for minimum use of electricity during peak hours 6 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 10 pm in a serious bid to balance the demand and the availability of power. MahaVitaran has further said that reduction in power consumption during the peak period will reduce the gap between demand and availability and there will be no need for load shedding.
Maharashtra daily needs 1,49,000 metric tonnes of coal for power generation plants to run at 85% capacity but now getting less than 70,000 metric tonnes. MahaGenco’s seven coal-based power generation plants have a coal stock ranging between 0.72 day and 1.62 days.
The MahaVitaran is forced to procure power at the highest cost which has shot up to more than Rs 20 per unit. MahaVitaran has procured 700 MW of electricity from the open market at Rs 13.60 per unit and this morning, 900 MW of electricity was purchased 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.
The rising coal shortage due to drastic fall in its supply is coupled with the increasing demand for electricity because of a surge in temperatures in the state. On Saturday (October 9), the MahaVitaran supplied 17,289 mw in the state excluding Mumbai as per the demand for electricity. The rains in various parts of Maharashtra have reduced the demand for electricity. On Sunday at 11.30 am, the demand for electricity in the state was recorded at 18,200 mw of which 15,800 mw 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 on agricultural lines for 8 hours daily or at night.