The power ministry on Tuesday said it has asked all utilities "to maintain a high state of alert and minimise forced outages of equipment" amid heatwave pushing electricity demand, especially in the northern region where Monsoon is yet to arrive.

The country's northern region has been experiencing high electricity demand due to a prevailing heatwave since May 17, 2024, the ministry said in a statement. Despite these challenging conditions, the ministry said, the highest ever peak demand of 89 GW in the northern region was successfully met on June 17, 2024.

It was made possible by importing 25-30 per cent of the region's power requirement from neighbouring regions, it said. "All utilities have been advised to maintain a high state of alert and minimise forced outages of equipment," the statement said.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, heatwave conditions in North-West India are expected to abate from June 20.

In response to the increased electricity demand and to ensure adequate power availability across the country, the Ministry of Power has implemented a series of measures to meet the highest ever peak demand of 250 GW during the ongoing summer season.

The ministry has estimated that peak demand can touch a level of 260 GW during this season. These measures include directions issued under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, for ICB (imported coal based) plants to continue the generation support during the high demand period.

The ministry has instructed power generating units to have minimum planned maintenance during this period.

Efforts are being made to minimise partial and forced outages to maximise the availability of generation capacity, it stated, adding that plants under long-term outage have been sensitised to revive their units to ensure maximum power generation.

All generating companies (GENCOs) have been advised to keep their plants in healthy condition to ensure full capacity availability for optimal operation of various generation sources, it stated. About the coal stock maintenance, it stated that adequate coal stocks are being maintained at coal-based thermal stations.

The hydro stations have been advised to conserve water during solar hours and dispatch maximum generation during non-solar hours to ensure power adequacy at all times, it stated.

Gas-based power plants have been directed to provide grid support under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003. Additionally, around 860 MW of additional gas-based capacity (non-NTPC) has been tied up through competitive bidding specifically for this summer, it stated.

Furthermore, it stated that approximately 5,000 MW of NTPC gas-based capacity has been instructed to be ready for immediate operation as per system requirements.

About the market utilisation of surplus power, it stated that any un-requisitioned or surplus power available with generating stations is to be offered in the market as per provisions of the Electricity (Late Payment Surcharge and Related Matters) Rules, 2022, and its amendments.

This power can be utilised by any other buyer from the power market. States can also tie up power with other states having surplus capacity via the PUShP portal, it stated.