The low coal reserve available in India is starting to prove its existence in various parts of the country despite the government saying otherwise. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and other states witnessed power outages for hours last weekend due to the same.
Rajasthan’s urban areas suffered 2 hours of outage while the rural areas had 4 hours of it as the state hasn’t been getting more than half of its contracted coal volume from Coal India Ltd., as per the state’s additional chief secretary for energy, Subodh Agarwal.
Meanwhile, Punjab and Jharkhand had their share of power shortages, the government stats showed, as did Mumbai, the financial capital of India. 11 gigawatts of Maharashtra’s electricity capacity were under outage on Friday as 35% of supply sources- including coal- weren’t available.
Coal shortages have skyrocketed the spot prices on Indian Energy Exchange Ltd as the rates jumped over 3 times the usual in the last 2 weeks. Power shortages are on their way to become the norm as 70% of electricity in India is derived from coal, forcing generators and factories to shell out more money to survive.
Spot prices on Monday were Rs 16.42/kilowatt/hour- the highest recorded in 12 years- the IEEL said.
The economy and social infrastructure is feared to come crippling down with the advent of this problem, which will eventually lead to more outages and power cuts in several more regions, including schools, hospitals and others.
Aluminium and steels industries are facing the wrath of this shortage the most as the existing coal is being diverted to power plants. They are now left with the option to either pay a huge price to avail local coal or suffer the outage.
After at least one power station powering the national capital ran out of coal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned of terrible times ahead, with a possible power crisis. Other coal reserves of Delhi had merely 1-4 days of coal left on Saturday, the CM wrote in a letter to PM Modi. Delhi’s gas-fired power plants don’t have enough of the fuel to make up the shortfall, he mentioned in the letter posted on Twitter.
Nevertheless, the Central government has been denying any shortage of coal. “Any fear of disruption in the power supply is entirely misplaced. There is ample coal available in the country to meet the demand of power plants,” the coal ministry of India said while replying to Mr Kejriwal’s tweet.
On Monday, at least 2/3rd of the coal-fired power plants in India had supply of a week or less left.