Eastern India faced a power shortage of around 1,500 MW on Monday, enough to light 38,000 households, as one of the largest power plants in the region, NTPC’s Farakka plant, did not operate due to lack of water.

NTPC’s 2,100 MW Farakka plant in West Bengal comprises six units — three 200 MW units and three 500 MW units. Lack of water in the Farakka Fresh Water canal had forced the power generator to shut five units totalling 1,600 MW on Saturday. However, as water levels dropped further, the sixth and final unit was shut down late on Sunday.

While power supplies were adequate over the weekend, there was a shortage on Monday, according to officials of the Eastern Region Load Despatch Centre (ERLDC).

ERLDC covers Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Sikkim.

As at 7 pm (peak hour), the electricity supplied was 15,981 MW. Typically, the electricity supplied at the peak hour in the region ranges between 17,500 and 18,000 MW.

“The situation is expected to continue till March 25 unless there is good-to-heavy rains. Due to the Indo-Bangladesh water sharing treaty, everyday 35,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released from Farakka to Bangladesh. This arrangement ends on March 25, after which there can be some relief,” an ERLDC official told BusinessLine .

“The availability of water from Farakka Feeder Canal to the 2,100 MW Farakka Plant further declined on Sunday, compelling authorities to switch off the lone generating 500 MW sixth unit. With this, generation at Farakka has come to a standstill. Concurrently, drinking water facilities within the plant as well as townships have also gone dry. The matter has been duly communicated to the higher officials,” an official statement from NTPC said.

Prices up While power prices in the region on Indian Energy Exchange rose about ₹ 0.30 a unit as compared to the average last week, the Deviation Settlement Mechanism rate of power in East India went up as high as ₹ 6.99 a unit on Monday.

Short-term electricity is transacted through three mechanisms — inter-state trading licences, power exchanges and deviation settlement mechanism.