Coal shortage to impact power output this winter

Get ready for more power cuts and expensive power. Coal shortage in power plants andoverdrawing by some states have exacerbated the situation, especially duringthe festive months. Winter too has set in early, which has led to a decline inhydro power production.

In the South, the Telangana agitation has hit power supplies in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas, leading to a fall in generationcapacities of power plants, resulting in severe loadshedding and power cuts.

NTPC, the leading public sector power producer, had recently said that coal shortage is hurting power production in a large numberof its plants. It has been a downhill scenario for the last few days, especiallyin the northern and eastern regions.

This is worrying, because it threatens thefunctioning of grid operations. States are finding it hard to meet consumer demand also because demand has surged, given the festival season.

NTPC's Badarpur plant is generating less as the temporary closure of the Agra Canal has caused water shortage. Before the onset of monsoon, NTPC had a coal stock of 5.3 million tonnes to meet the requirement of 13.2 days; this has depleted dramatically.

Nor is the capital spared. During the last few days, private power distribution companies have resorted to load shedding and power cuts to deal with shortage in the capital. Private power distribution companies have resorted to load shedding and power cuts to tackle the shortage during thelast few days. Grid operations are hit; grid frequency has been dipping below 49.5 Hz for a large part of the day, below the standard level.