VIJAYAWADA: The APGENCO thermal plants, which received only 24,000 tonnes of coal a day on an average in September against the total requirement of 70,000 tonnes, have seen an improvement as 40,000 tonnes of coal started coming in following a request by the State.
“The shortage in coal production across the country for the last two years, steep rise in coal prices in the international market and surge in grid demand in Andhra Pradesh have led to power crunch in the State. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was the first CM in the country who highlighted the coal crisis in thermal power stations, explained the high prices in power exchanges and sought the intervention of the Prime Minister. Due to this, the State has seen some improvement in coal supplies,” the Energy Department said, in a statement on Wednesday.
The power utilities have fully geared up to meet the increasing demand. Sustained efforts, including convincing the Centre to direct the coal ministry to send 20 coal rakes to AP thermal power plants, allot deep-sea gas from ONGC and Reliance, and revival of non-working pit head thermal plants without PPAs, are being made to tide over the crisis. The department claimed that the crisis was “purely temporary” and that it will overcome it soon.
Meanwhile, the power purchase rates had shot up to Rs 20 per unit against the average cost of Rs 4 to Rs 5 earlier due to the high demand and low supply across the country because of coal shortage. At the same time, the average power demand surged to 190 Million Units (MU) in October, 2021, as against 160 MU in October, 2020.
APGENCO is operating 2,300 to 2,500 MW out of its installed capacity of 5,010 MW due to severe shortage of coal. Some units of Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant(RTPP) remain shut. Krishnapatnam and Dr Narla Tata Rao Thermal Power Station(NTTPS) are also generating less than their capacity. Although officials have been maintaining that there was no load shedding ‘officially’, several reports of power cuts in rural areas and in the industry sector have been emerging across the State.
“AP has installed capacity of around 18,533 MW as on date and of which 8,075 MW are solar and wind generators, which do not serve the purpose of base load due to their inherent variable nature. Even as the State has gas installed capacity of 908 MW, the gas supply is available for generating only 100 MW. The Hinduja National Power Corporation Limited (HNPCL) thermal power plant of 1,040 MW is under sub-judice before the Supreme Court,” the department explained, adding that the State Discoms availed 50,000 MU from their long-term resources out of total consumption of 63,070 MU, that includes thermal, hydel, wind, solar and Central Generating Stations.
Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy appreciated the chairpersons of APSPDCL, APCPDCL and APEPDCL, H Haranatha Rao, J Padma Janardhana Reddy and K Santhosha Rao, respectively, “for their efforts in providing quality power with minimum interruptions in spite of severe coal shortage.”