Union power minister RK Singh on Sunday dismissed reports of Delhi facing a power crisis, saying the Capital “is being supplied the required amount of electricity and it will continue”. His assertion followed a meeting between officials of his ministry and power discoms BSES and Tata Power.
Speaking to reporters, Singh said there was no “crisis” regarding power supply as “we have an average coal reserve that can last for more than four days. The stock is replenished every day”. He also said he was in touch with Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi on the issue.
Media reports in the last few days have highlighted shortage of coal in the nation, with Delhi power minister Satyendar Jain warning on Saturday that the city could face load-shedding in the coming days. He also likened the coal shortage with oxygen shortage in the capital during the second wave of COVID, while Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he had written to PM Narendra Modi on the matter.
With industries restarting in the last few months, power demand recovered faster than expected, and India’s thermal power plants are struggling with critically low supplies of coal.
As many as 104 thermal plants, with capacity of 126.8 GW of the total 135 thermal power plants in the country, are currently classified as having “critical” or “super critical” levels of coals stock for up to a week. A total of 72 plants with a capacity 89.5 GW have coal stocks of three days or less against the government’s guidelines of stocks for 14 days, The Indian Express reported.
In the view of current coal crisis, held a high-level meeting with officials of the power department & power distribution companies. Discussed the issue & its possible solutions. Appealing the Central Govt to ensure enough stock of coal & run the power plants on 100% capacity. pic.twitter.com/f0Fpc6FuG1
— Satyendar Jain (@SatyendarJain) October 9, 2021
Singh, explaining the matter to reporters after Sunday’s meeting, said: “The panic ensued after GAIL informed Bawana gas power plant that it will stop supplying gas after two days because their contract was about to expire. I’ve asked the GAIL CMD, who participated in today’s meeting, to continue the required supplies. He has assured me that the supplies will continue. Neither there was any shortage of gas in the past, nor will it happen in the future.”
He reiterated that “in effect, neither there was, nor there is any crisis. It was created unnecessarily. I’ve warned Tata Power’s CEO of action if they send baseless SMSes to customers that can create panic. Messages by GAIL and Tata Power qualify as acts of irresponsible behaviour”.
A Tata Power Delhi Distribution SMS, sent to a consumer in Burari earlier, read: “Due to limited coal availability in generation plants across north, power supply scenario between 2pm to 6pm is at critical level. Kindly use electricity judiciously. Be a responsible citizen. Inconvenience caused is regretted.”
The Indian Express had reported Singh as saying that the coal supply situation is likely to be “uncomfortable” for up to six months.