Still 'lights out' in Delhi

Power minister Haroon Yusuf has attributed the problem to overdrawing by neighbouring state UP

As power shortage problems continue, the Capital, on Monday, faced power cuts ranging from one to five hours. Power Minister Haroon Yusuf said the situation has become more difficult for Delhi due to overdrawing of power of about 1100-2,000 mega watt (MW) from the northern grid by neighbouring state Uttar Pradesh, which is forcing the city to resort to load-shedding to maintain frequency of the grid.

Haroon Yusuf

"We don't know why UP is overdrawing so much power from the northern grid, which, in turn is forcing us to resort to loadshedding. There is provision for hefty penalty for overdrawing power beyond the permissible level and I will write to the union power ministry to intervene," Yusuf told media persons.

Delhi government has also approached NTPC to ensure supply of full quota of power  while directing all discoms to try and procure power from the open market even at higher rates. Continuing coal and water shortage in various power plants and a strike by some of Coal India employees have affected power generation at various plants.

Yusuf said he has spoken to CEOs of all three power distribution companies and directed them to arrange for power from various sources. Power secretary Parimal Roy spoke to NTPC chairman Arup Roy Choudhury and requested him to ensure full quota of power supply to Delhi.

Delhi gets 1,400 MW from NTPC's Dadri plant. But in the last four days, the supply has been about only 300 to 800 MW. Power generation in the plants has been affected by shortage of coal due to heavy rains in mining areas and the ongoing festival season in the eastern region. The disruption in water supply from Agra canal to the plant at Badarpur as well as cut in generation at Rajghat plant have added to the problem. The city received only 900 MW from these two plants against their full capacity of 1,400 MW.

Roy said National Hydro Power Corporation, which supplies around 355 MW power daily to Delhi, has also cut down its supply to 70 MW due to water shortage, while supply from Nuclear Power Corporation of India has come down to 88 MW from 110 MW. He said although there is a gap of 1,000 MW in demand and supply, the impact would not have been this bad had Uttar Pradesh not resorted to overdrawing.

Helpless power producers
Country's largest power producer, on Monday, said, coal shortage is hindering performance of several of its plants. "Many of its power stations across states have been impacted by shortage of coal, as a result of which electricity supplied by them is less than their installed capacities," NTPC said.

According to the company, the Badarpur plant is generating less due to the temporary closure of Agra canal. Before the onset of monsoon, NTPC had a coal stock of 5.3 million tonne to meet the requirement of 13.2 days, which has depleted drastically," NTPC said. "Frequent bandhs in CCL area and strike by Coal India Ltd (CIL) employees on October 10-11 and continued strike at SCCL as part of Telangana agitation from September 13-20 have further aggravated the coal situation," it added.

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