Thermal plants battle coal shortage amid growing p

A CEA report has said that about 30 thermal power stations have less than a week`s coal to fuel plants.

New Delhi: Amid the country facing long power cuts due to lower production than demand, especially in peak summers, a CEA report has said that about 30 thermal power stations have less than a week`s coal to fuel plants.

On the first day of May, as many as 27 coal-based thermal power stations in the country had fuel stock that could not even last a week, according to the data by Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The power stations include 13 plants with less than four days of fuel stock on that day.

The number of power plants reeling under acute fuel shortage (of less than a week stock) increased to 30 by the end of the month and the number of plants with less than 4-day stock rose to 19, it said.

On an average over 28 power plants, every day, suffered fuel shortage with less than a week`s stock, last month.

The thermal power station (1,320 MW) at Jhajjar in Haryana remained shut almost the entire month due to shortage of fuel.

Major cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and rural areas are facing long power cuts as supply is insufficient to meet demand of power amid the peak summer season.

The eastern region was the worst affected, as 12 thermal power plants witnessed less than a week`s stock including 10 with less than four days of reserve.

The 3,000 MW Talcher power plant in Orissa, and three plants in West Bengal, with a collective capacity of over 1,600 MW received less coal from Coal India and its subsidiaries, the data revealed. Whereas, coal supply is yet to start at three plants in the same region.

Seven power plants in the northern region -- Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh -- had less than 7 days of fuel stock on May 30.

Six power plants in the western region -- Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra -- had less seven days stock on the same day.

And five power stations in the southern region -- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu -- had less than seven days of fuel stock on the same day.

The government has also proposed to add 1 lakh MW of electricity in the next five years, from all sources of energy.

According to Planning Commission estimates, the country`s energy supply needs to grow at 6.5 per cent annually if the nation has to achieve annual economic growth of 9 per cent during the current plan period (2012-17).