A shortage of coal has hit the capacity for power generation in Punjab. (Photo: PTI file/Representative)
A shortage of coal has hit the capacity for power generation in Punjab. As a result, three thermal power plants have been forced to shut down and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has requested the Centre to increase coal supply to the state.
Against the installed capacity of 5,620 megawatts, the state’s thermal power plants are only able to generate 2,800 megawatts at present. As a result of coal shortage, thermal power plants in Punjab including Lehra Mohabbat, Ropar (Roopnagar), Rajpura, Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal Sahib – can only generate power for one to four days.
Five thermal power plants have already been shut. Two in Ropar have been shut due to technical reasons while two in Talwanti Sabo and one in Lehra Mohabbat have been shut due to coal shortage.
POWER CUTS SPARK PROTESTS
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has been forced to buy power from private firms and neighbouring states on an exchange basis. This arrangement, according to PSPCL Chairman A Venu Prasad, is costing the government a lot of money.
The coal shortage has forced PSPCL to resort to power cuts from three to six hours, sparking protests in different parts of the state.
PUNJAB GOVT CRITICISED
While the opposition Aam Aadmi Party and Shiromani Akali Dal are promising 300 to 400 free units of power to the people if they are voted to power in the upcoming Assembly election, the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Punjab government is facing criticism from its own leaders following the outage.
“Punjab must prevent and prepare, rather than repent and repair. Private thermal plants floating guidelines, punishing domestic consumers by not keeping coal stock for 30 days should be penalised. It is time to aggressively work on solar PPAs and roof-top solar connected to the grid,” Navjot Singh Sidhu of the Congress party said on Twitter.
Punjab must prevent & prepare, rather than repent & repair Private Thermal Plants floating guidelines, punishing Domestic Consumers by not keeping Coal Stock for 30 Days should be penalised. It is time to aggressively work on Solar PPAs, & roof-top solar connected to the Grid !
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) October 10, 2021
PUNJAB CM ASKS CENTRE FOR HELP
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has asked the Centre to immediately enhance the state’s coal supply to tide over the current power crisis. He said the coal stock in Punjab will be exhausted within a few days.
Reviewing the power situation amid shortage of coal in the state, Chief Minister Channi said that the thermal plants are unable to generate full capacity of power due to insufficient coal receipt. He confirmed that power cuts being faced by domestic consumers in cities and villages are being imposed to ensure sufficient supply to the agriculture sector as well as to maintain grid discipline.