VIJAYAWADA: Informing that the State thermal units only have coal stocks for a day or two left and that the average power prices in spot markets shot up by three times, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has sent an SOS to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking immediate intervention to ‘avert chaotic conditions’ due to the unfolding energy crisis.
He requested that urgent measures such as directing the coal ministry and railways to supply 20 rakes of coal to APGENCO thermal units, supply of deepwater gas from ONGC and Reliance to 2,300 MW non-working/stranded gas units and others be initiated to tide over the energy crisis. In the letter written to the Prime Minister on Friday, October 8, 2021, he noted that power demand in Andhra Pradesh post-Covid has shot up by 15% in the last six months and by 20% last month.
He elaborated that AP has been meeting the grid demand of 185 million units (MU) to 190 MU daily. “Power generation stations operated by APGENCO, which meet about 45% of State’s energy needs, hardly have coal stocks for one or two days and generation from these could be impacted further. APGENCO plants are operating at less than 50% of their 90 MU/day capacity because of coal shortage. The Central Generating Stations (CGSs) have also not been able to supply more than 75% of their 40 MU/day capacity,” the Chief Minister explained.
Jagan further said that AP has not been executing contracts with coal-based plants to absorb energy from 8,000 MW, and that the State has been “heavily” relying on market purchases to meet the shortfall in energy. But the market prices also surged steeply owing to the international energy crisis and the demand thereof, he informed the Prime Minister.
“The daily average market price of about 40 MU/day energy that we purchase has increased three times from a daily average of Rs 4.6 per kWh on September 15 to Rs 15 per kWh on October 8. The rates in day-ahead and real-time power markets are soaring day by day and have reached the peak of Rs 20 per unit at most times of the day irrespective of peak or off-peak hours. The power is also not available at certain hours in the market due to less availability of generation in the country. It is quite an alarming situation and the finances of Discoms would deteriorate further if the situation persists,” he said.
As more water is required in the last stage of the harvesting season, any unplanned power cuts would affect farmers, he added. “Unplanned power cuts, once resorted to, will lead to chaotic conditions in the society as we witnessed in 2012. It has become increasingly difficult for us to meet the grid demand and the circumstances are pushing us towards load shedding,” he added.
To avert the chaotic conditions that may arise out of load shedding, the CM urged the PM to direct the coal ministry and railways to allot 20 coal rakes to AP thermal stations and to revive on an emergency basis the non-working pit-head coal plants across the country without power purchase agreements or coal linkages. “Such plants must also commence operations immediately, regardless of the stage of the proceedings at NCLT. This will save the coal transport time and quantity limitations in coal transportation to non-pit head coal plants,” he suggested.
Other remedial measures requested by Jagan included deepwater well gas available with ONGC and Reliance may be supplied on an emergency basis to the 2,300 MW stranded/ non-working gas plants in AP and the deficit of nearly 500 MW from CGS due to plant maintenance can be bridged by reviving the plants at the earliest. Banks/ lending institutions may be instructed to provide working capital loans liberally to Discoms till the crisis is tided over, he added.
20 coal rakes for APGENCO sought
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy urged the Centre to initiate urgent measures such as directing the coal ministry and railways to supply 20 rakes of coal to APGENCO thermal units to tide over the energy crisis.