Andhra Pradesh Business

Coal crisis: Power cuts seem inevitable in Andhra Pradesh October 18 onwards

VIJAYAWADA: Power cuts for domestic consumers in Andhra Pradesh are likely from next week. The State has coal reserves to cater to the per day demand of power supply for only one week and if the situation does not improve, power cuts have to be imposed, sources said.

Though the power situation in the State is not that alarming at present as the daily demand is being met by electricity produced by power plants and market purchases, people have been advised to use power judiciously on need basis in the wake of shortage of coal for thermal plants across the country.

Minister for Energy Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, however, on Monday, October 11, 2021, maintained that the present situation arising out of the coal crisis is temporary and every effort is being made by the State government to overcome the situation.“Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is closely monitoring the situation and taking steps to ensure that power consumers are not subjected to any inconvenience,” he said.

However, sources indicated that power without cuts can be supplied for another one week only. “Imposition of power cuts may become inevitable in the present scenario,’’ they added.In fact, enough indications were given in the recent presser by Energy Secretary Nagulapalli Srikanth, where he appealed to people to avoid use of air-conditioners between 6 and 10 pm. If the demand for power is minimised, it will help the State save 10 million units (MU) a day.

Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, Advisor to Government (Public Affairs), also made a public appeal on similar lines. He said owing to the international coal crisis, power production across the country has been hit and it is also having an impact on Andhra Pradesh.

“Though efforts are being made to ensure that demand is met by purchasing power in the market, it is advisable for people to reduce their power usage during peak hours (6 to 10 pm) especially by avoiding ACs, which will help reduce the load factor,” he said.

According to Sajjala, the government is taking steps considering the demand during the ensuing summer. He expressed concern that if the coal crisis continues, it may become a problem during summer. He appealed to people to use power judiciously.

Meanwhile, sources said the average demand for 175 MU in the State is being met with power produced by thermal, hydel, wind and solar power plants. A part of the demand is being met by power purchased from the market, which varies from day to day. On Monday, around 30 MU were purchased from the power market at a price of Rs 15 per unit.

Energy Minister Srinivasa Reddy said the coal shortage has forced thermal plants in the State under APGENCO to decrease their production. “The Chief Minister had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a couple of days ago apprising him of the situation in the State and sought 20 rakes of coal for the State,’’ he explained.

He said demand for power in the State increased during the Covid-19 pandemic by 15 MU on an average and every effort is being made to meet the demand. He rubbished the opposition’s claims that the power crisis in the State is due to the failure of the Energy Department.

He said no power plant under APGENCO was stopped and power from the market is being purchased as it has been cheaper compared to thermal power. The market price increased currently owing to the coal crisis. Power production in Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant unit II and VI was stopped owing to annual maintenance and in unit IV due to coal shortage. NTPS unit II is under annual maintenance.The crisis is temporary, the minister said.