Coal shortage crisis looms ahead of paddy transplantation

By Times Of India on 08 Jun 2018 | read
PATIALA: With only two weeks to go for paddy transplantation, coal shortage has hit the private power generation companies (gencos) in Punjab, forcing shutdown of a 700 MW unit at the Rajpura thermal power plant.

The shutdown has added to the woes of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which is already short of 1,400 MWs of power due to permanent shutting down of four units of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant Bathinda and two units of the Ropar thermal plant, along with a reduction in the transfer capacity from the northern grid.

Due to lack of power availability, the PSPCL is left with no option but to buy expensive electricity from the open market where per unit cost has gone up to Rs 11 during the current season.

As per a report of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the Rajpura thermal power plant has coal stocks barely enough to run the plant for one-and-a-half day, placing it in the supercritical category. The thermal plant at Talwandi Sabo has a coal stock of four days. However, the state-owned thermal plant at Ropar has the fuel stock for 36 days and Lehra Mohabbat plant has the stock for 30 days.

The Rajpura thermal plant has shut down the 700 MW unit due to the shortage and the second unit is on the verge of closure given the fact that the plant has only 12,000 tonnes of coal stock against a daily requirement of 8,000 tonnes. It is for the second time in the last 60 days that the plant has shut down the unit. Earlier, the unit had to be shut down in April for 10 days. Last year, one of the units was forced to remain out of operation for a period of 54 days during September and November due to coal crisis.

The entire power produced by the Rajpura thermal is sold to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) at a cost of Rs 2.45 a unit. The two units produce power worth over Rs 3.8 crore a day. Going by the figures it is estimated that the state will have to pay Rs 3.2 crore to buy 700 MW of power from the open market where the prices have risen to Rs 11 a unit with an average cost of Rs 3.49 to Rs 6.34.