The power ministry has mandated all imported coal-based thermal plants to function with full capacity from March 16 to June 15 this year in order to meet the anticipated high demand of electricity.
This order (under Section 11 of the Electricity Act) shall remain valid for generation and supply of power from March 16, 2023 to June 15, 2023, stated a notice sent to 15 thermal plants that use imported coal.
Last year in May, the ministry had issued similar directions to such power plants to operate and generate power to their full capacity. The 15 imported coal-based power plants include Tata Power's and Adani Power's plants in Mundra in Gujarat; Essar power plant in Salaya; JSW Ratnagiri; Tata Trombay; Udupi Power; Meenakshi Energy; and JSW Torangallu.
India's peak power demand is expected to touch 230GW in 2023. In December 2022, Union power secretary Alok Kumar had said that the government will take all possible measures to meet the 230 gigawatt (GW) single-day peak demand expected in April 2023.
Kumar had stated that the demand in April this year could be as high as 230 GW. As per official figures, the maximum all-India power demand met at 2:51 pm on April 26, 2022 was 201.066 GW.
The notice sent to imported coal-based power plants also said, "It has been forecasted that peak demand will reach 229GW during April 2023. To meet this demand, about 193 GW generation would be required from thermal generating stations."
The ministry had also issued guidelines on January 12, 2023 for procurement of power from untied capacity of imported coal based plants during the crunch period (April and May) on competitive bidding basis. In order to meet the demand and supply gap, the power ministry has also directed (on January 9, 2023) to state-owned as well as private power plants to import coal for blending at the rate of six per cent in domestic dry fuel.