PMO reviews coal supply, power availability situation
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Assam along with several north-eastern states are heading towards a severe power crisis as thermal power production has gone down due to shortage of coal reserves in the country since the last week.

A notification issued by the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) on Sunday has revealed that the coal crisis will lead to a shortage of power in the state.

“Due to limited coal availability, the generation of power from thermal generating stations has decreased considerably. The power position is clearly at a critical level and power outages/ load shedding may be inevitable. Kindly bear with us and use electricity judiciously. Energy saved is energy generated. inconvenience is highly regretted,” the APDCL said in the notification.

Notably, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) warned that coal reserves at over half of the country’s power plants could burn out in three days or less as a post-pandemic surge in manufacturing spiked demand for power and caught power producers off guard.

According to the report, the states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh have gone for massive power cuts due to the ongoing energy crisis.

The present coal crisis has affected power generation in National Thermal Power Project (NTPS) run Bongaigaon Thermal Power Project at Salakati in Kokrajhar district. Since the last week, the BTPS has supplied only 100 MW to the state. The BTPS is one of the major sources of power for the APDCL in Assam.

The depletion of coal stock in the thermal power stations is the only reason for low production, sources in the state power department here said. The country gets 70 per cent of electricity from 135 coal-fired power plants located in various states. These plants have merely three to four days stocks as there is no extraction of coals due to heavy rainfall in coal mine areas in the last fortnight.

Presently, the BTPS has been supplying only 200 MW of electricity to APDCL for the past few days due to the crisis. There is a 50 per cent shortage in power generation in the plant, a senior official of APDCL said.

The state generates 330 MW power from BTPS and Namrup Thermal Power Station (NTPS) in Dibrugarh district out of its power demand of 1600 MW every day.

Due to low generation, the state has to purchase power from India Energy Exchange Ltd, the ONGC power plant at Paltana in Tripura, Tripura Power Generation Co Ltd, and the Loktak Hydroelectric Project at Manipur.

“We are ready to face the crisis. We are looking for other sources of power to meet up the crisis,” APDCL managing director Rakesh Kumar said.

“Coal production goes down during the monsoon season. The coal cannot be extracted from underground mines during the monsoon. Moreover, the quality of coal extracted during this season is also poor,” Kumar said.

Massive power cuts are also expected in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram during this festive season, sources added.

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