With predictions of a searing summer, the Power Ministry has devised a multi-pronged strategy involving other ministries such as coal and railways to meet the high electricity demand in FY24.

With peak power demand expected at 229 gigawatts (GW) next month, Power Minister RK Singh held a review meeting on Tuesday with top officials from the Ministries of Power, Coal, and Railways.

Singh directed Gencos to ensure that there is no load-shedding during the summer and asked all stakeholders to closely monitor the situation. He also asked the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to ensure a fair and transparent mechanism for coal allocation to States, the Power Ministry said.

CEA expects India’s energy demand to be 1,42,097 million units (MU) during April 2023, the highest in 2023, before reducing to 1,41,464 MU in May and 1,17,049 MU in November.

Multi-pronged strategy

As part of the strategy, power utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance for coal-based plants in advance to avoid disruptions during the peak summer months (April to May). Besides, all imported coal-based (ICB) plants will run at full capacity from March 16.

By March end, the Ministry will offer an additional coal-based capacity of 2,920 megawatts (MW). In addition, two units at Barauni (2 x 110 MW) will also be made available during the crunch period.

Besides, gas-based power would be used to meet any peak demand, and NTPC will run its 5,000 MW gas-based power stations during April–May. Also, 4,000 MW of additional gas-based power capacity would be added by other entities. GAIL has assured the necessary supply of gas.

All the hydro plants have been instructed to operate in consultation with regional and State load dispatch centers to optimise water utilisation in March for better availability next month.

Similarly, Railways will provide 418 rakes to coal mining companies and captive blocks, as well as enhance the number of rakes in due course.

PUShP portal

The CEA has launched the PUShP Portal, which creates a national level utilisation mechanism. It will help in the flexibilisation of PPAs for optimal utilisation of resources and reducing power costs. The portal will help states get a better view of the country’s generating capacity. At present, this capacity remains underutilised due to PPAs and non-availability of a consolidated supply-demand scenario.