With the rise in coal prices and the sudden rise in temperature, Punjab is once again facing an acute power crisis, which will pose a major challenge to the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state.
Since thermal power plants are a major contributor to Punjab’s electricity supply, the cost of production has increased due to the unprecedented increase in the cost of coal required to fuel these plants. State power companies are now considering cutting or shutting down power to overcome the growing crisis.
With the onset of paddy season in June, the power situation has alarmed the farmers. The AAP government needs to ensure regular supply to farmers in June and July.
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Officials said that one unit of Mr. Goindwal’s GVK Power and another unit of Ropar’s Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Plant have been shut down. Also, two units of Talwandi Sabo Power Limited are reported to be running at low capacity due to coal shortage. Coal connections of private power plants are reported to be less than their established power generation capacity.
To make matters worse, State Coastal Gujarat Power Limited is not getting its share of 475 MW from the Tata Mundra plant, which has cut off power supply to the state. Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials said that against the agreement to sell power to Punjab at Rs 2.90 per unit, they are demanding Rs 5.50-6 per unit, asking the state to share the increase in the cost of imported coal.
With the demand for electricity in the state increasing by an average of 1000 MW over the same period last year due to early summer, PSPCL is struggling to meet the demand. Over the last fortnight, the daily electricity demand in Punjab has varied from 7,395 MW to 8,490 MW.
Even the rate of electricity available for sale on the power exchange has increased by more than 400%.
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