Delhi, AP shoot SOS to PM on coal crisis; seek intervention to prevent blackouts

The Delhi and Andhra Pradesh governments have sent urgent requests to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to ensure fuel supply to power plants to avoid mass blackouts.

Delhi’s Tata Power Delhi Distribution has also sent an SMS to its consumers asking them to use electricity judiciously during the afternoon peak hours of 2-6 pm as the country’s power plants reel under a massive coal shortage.

The chief ministers of Delhi and Andhra Pradesh have sought an immediate increase in the supply of coal and gas to their power plants. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also demanded a cap on spot power prices to prevent profiteering.

Kejriwal said four power stations supplying close to 2 GW to Delhi have stock for one day or less. Gas plants supplying to the states do not have adequate (administered price mechanism) APM gas. “If this situation continues unabated, it would severely impact the power supply situation in Delhi,” he said.


He said coal shortages for the third month in a row have hit power generation of major central power generating stations supplying electricity to Delhi.

“Due to limited coal availability in generation plants across north, power supply scenario between 2 pm to 6 pm is at critical level. Kindly use electricity judiciously. Be a responsible citizen. Inconvenience caused is regretted,” read the SMS sent by TPDDL to its consumers in north and northwest Delhi.

Of the 165 GW of monitored domestic coal-fired plants, those with a capacity of 136 GW were operating at critical stock levels on October 7. While the average coal stock at power stations is four days against a norm of 14 days, as much as 106 GW of capacity is operating with stock for less than three days. Spot prices on the Indian Energy Exchange are averaging a record Rs 16 per unit and have even touched Rs 20 per unit at times.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said the situation is alarming as the cost of purchase from electricity exchanges has risen three times since September 15. While the rates in day-ahead and real-time markets have peaked at Rs 20 per unit at most times of day, power is not available at certain hours due to lower generation, he said.

He said fields in the state would dry up without water at the final stage of harvesting. Unplanned power cuts will lead to grid collapse similar to that in 2012. “It has become increasingly difficult for us to meet the grid demand and the circumstances are pushing us towards load shedding,” he said.

Reddy has sought 20 coal rakes per day for Andhra thermal stations and also an immediate revival of pit-head coal plants under insolvency. He has also sought direction to ONGC and

Reliance Industries

to provide gas to gas plants with a capacity of 2.3 GW in the state.

( Originally published on Oct 09, 2021 )

In Video: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal writes to PM Modi as city braces for power cuts