Fuel woes at NTPC blamed for power cuts in Tamil Nadu

Siddhartha P. Saikia New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Coal shortage hits generation at several other key thermal plants as well

Tamil Nadu is facing power shortage as the NTPC stations that provide electricity to it do not have enough coal supplies to generate power. The State’s electricity distribution utilities — Tamil Nadu Generation & Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO), TNEB Ltd and Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation (TANTRANSCO) — have sought the intervention of the Coal Ministry to improve fuel supply in the Southern region which will enable the plants to run to operate at maximum capacity.

Tamil Nadu is deprived of around 260 MW due of inadequate coal supply , the Discoms said in a recent communication to the Coal Ministry.

According to the discoms, the Ramagundam (Andhra Pradesh) plant was generating 2,100 MW against its capacity of 2,600 MW, while Talcher stage-II (Odisha) was producing 1,600 MW against 2,000 MW. The 500-MW unit-4 of Simhadri (Andhra Pradesh) is also under forced outage since October 13 due to coal shortage.

Demand increasing

The demand has been on the increase and grid operations are being hit. The power shortage has also been compounded by near-stoppage of generation through the State’s 3,000-MW wind power facilities, primarily because the generation season has come to an end.

The cumulative availability factor of NTPC stations for the current fiscal is not encouraging. It is 75 per cent for Talcher-II, 78 per cent for Simhadri and 51 per cent for Vallur (Tamil Nadu).

The latest coal stock position, as on November 19, shows that Talcher and Simhadri have stocks for just a day, while Ramagundam has no stock. Only Vallur has four-days’ worth of stock to feed the power plant. According to the Central Electricity Authority, less than four days of coal stock is termed ‘critical.’

The Talcher and Simhadri stations get their supplies from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), one of the eight subsidiaries of Coal India .

“There was agitation at two blocks under MCL, which resulted in short supply. The Ministry and local authorities are looking into the issue and it will be resolved soon,” a senior Coal Ministry official told Business Line. Last month, there were disturbances in coal supply and precautionary steps were taken due to cyclone Phailin. However, cyclone Helen, which is expected to strike Andhra Pradesh today may further affect coal supplies , said an NTPC official.

Published on November 21, 2013

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