A week after getting relief from load-shedding, state Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Thursday, April 21, informed that state utility Mahavitaran has started enforcing power cuts because of acute electricity shortage.
Blaming the union government for disruptions in the supply of coal, which seems to be the significant reason for demand-supply gap in electricity, Raut admitted that power cuts were inevitable.
The minister attributed the nationwide coal crisis to the growth in electricity demand due to the soaring heat, rise in consumption by industrial and agricultural consumers.
It has affected coal inventories at state-owned Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited’s (MahaGenco) thermal power stations.
While talking to reporters, Raut explained: “Earlier, I had said that we will not allow any load shedding in Maharashtra, but suddenly the Adani power company had reduced power generation at their Tiroda plant. We have a PPA (power purchase agreement) for the supply of 3,100 MW, but we were given a supply of 1,765 MW, and we had a shortfall of 1,405 MW. Similarly, we used to get 100 MW from JSW, but this was disrupted, as their plant was shut down. From CGPL (Coastal Gujarat Power Limited or CGPL Mundra), we have an agreement and we had registered demand of 760 MW according to it, but they gave us just 630 MW. This led to a backlog of 130 MW. Due to this, there was a shortage, and we had to resort to load shedding in the state.”
This year, the heat began increasing from February instead of April and this, with the resumption of economic activity due to the removal of COVID-19 restrictions, had pushed up demand.
Raut added that it cannot be said for how long this load shedding will continue as no power is available in the open market and many power plants were lying idle due to a lack of coal. The load-shedding will be undertaken in areas where recovery of bills is less and losses are high.
Meanwhile in another backlash, earlier in September 2021, unseasonal rains had led to waterlogging in coal mines.
According to reports, Maharashtra plans to import 8 million tonnes for blending purposes. The state is expecting 8 million tonnes of coal imports, which will be in addition to the 2 million tonnes it had already ordered, by May 8.