Amid coal crisis Piyush Goyal urges for big push to achieve 24x7 power for all

Amidst a looming power crisis and an acute shortage of coal for firing up thermal power plants across the country, union minister of state for power, coal and new and renewable energy Piyush Goyal has urged all states and union territories to work together in a time bound manner to achieve the goal of 24x7 power for all.

Inaugurating a conference of ministers of power and mines of states and union territories in New Delhi today, Goyal said a ''mission mode'' approach in a fast-track manner needed to be adopted for solving problems in the energy sector.

The conference will help better understand the ground realities and practical problems of the states, the minister said and assured the centre's unequivocal help in resolving the issues.

Goyal called for a concerted approach by the ministries of power, coal and new and renewable energy focusing on the development agenda and unified efforts by the centre and the states to bring about a major change in the country's energy scenario.

The one-day conference, which is being attended by power and mines ministers from 29 states and 5 UTs, comes in the wake of the Supreme Court today deferring judgement on the cancellation of 218 coal blocks allocated during 1993 to 2010 (See: Coalgate: SC reserves judgment on ''illegal'' coal blocks).

The meeting discussed the power situation in the states due to the shortage of coal. The tariff issue also is reported to have been discussed at the meet.

One fourth of the 100 coal-based power plants monitored by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) are reeling under acute coal shortage with stocks to last less than four days.

Out of the 25 thermal power plants (TPP) having super critical stock, four each are in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, three in Uttar Pradesh.

States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab are also facing power crises due to shut-down of some units of Mundra plants run by Tata Power and Adani Power.

Adani Power shut down about six generating units at its 4,620-MW Mundra project in Gujarat, last week. This plant supplies electricity to Haryana and Gujarat.

Tata Power closed down two generating units at its 4,000 MW Mundra ultra mega power project on account of technical issues.

The Tata Mundra project supplies power to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. Last Monday, the Supreme Court had stayed the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity's interim order allowing compensatory tariffs for the two Mundra projects.

These projects have been impacted by change in Indonesian coal pricing policy. With Indonesia changing its coal-price regime in 2011, both Tata Power and Adani Power had approached Central Electricity Regulatory Commission seeking relief, which allowed them to charge higher tariffs from the state utilities as compensation for the costlier fuel.