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Heat wave and power cuts spell nightmare for Indians

Heat wave and power cuts spell nightmare for Indians

Delhi recorded a maximum temperature of 43.5 degrees – the highest in April in 12 years. Gurugram too recorded 45 degrees, which is the highest ever temperature in April.

Heat wave and power cuts in India Heat wave and power cuts in India

A scorching heat wave, compounded with a coal shortage, has spelled nightmare for Indians during a very warm summer. Multiple cities and states are witnessing long power cuts. Moreover, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted the heatwave to continue, spurring high electricity demand.

Moreover, Delhi recorded a maximum temperature of 43.5 degrees – the highest in April in 12 years. Gurugram too recorded 45 degrees, which is the highest ever temperature in April. 

Power cuts

Delhi: Due to high demand and a deepening coal shortage, the Delhi government warned its residents of a possible setback in providing uninterrupted electricity supply to Metro trains and hospitals. Power Minister Satyender Jain wrote to the Centre to ensure enough coal availability for power plants.

The government statement said that there is a disruption in power supply from Dadri-II and Unchahar power stations, which could lead to problems in 24-hour power supply to Delhi Metro and Delhi government. These power stations that are facing a coal shortage, supply for 25-30 per cent of Delhi’s electricity demand.

The Dadri-II, Unchahar, Kahalgaon, Farakka and Jhajjar power plants supply 1,751 megawatt (MW) of electricity per day to Delhi. The capital gets the maximum supply of 728 MW from Dadri-II power station, while it receives 100 MW from the Unchahar station.

A shortage of coal and the sweltering summer has led to blackouts in many parts of the country.

Also read: Punjab faces unannounced electricity cuts amid power crisis

Punjab: Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) too has resorted to unannounced power cuts as it has failed to meet the rising electricity demands. The state has in-house power generation capacity of 7,000 MW. Out of this, 5,880 MW is through thermal power generation, which has dropped to 3,327 MW as four of the 15 thermal power units are shut. 

Rural areas in the state are facing the worst crisis as power outages have become a daily affair. Urban areas are also witnessing 5-6 hours of power cuts per day. The power cuts have also impacted water supply. 

However, when it comes to Punjab, the heat wave and coal shortages are only part of a crisis spun by empty coffers, faulty transmission lines and poor infrastructure. The state also has a heavy power subsidy bill and pending electricity bills by various Punjab government departments. 

Maharashtra: In Mumbai too, parts of the city and adjoining suburbs experienced power outages. Many of the power cut complaints were directed to Adani Electricity. Social media is abuzz with Mumbai residents complaining about long hours of power cuts. 

Mumbai does not generally face power cuts. But earlier this week the posh Khar area too saw power cuts. Adani Electricity said it was fixing the faults in the lines. “As Mumbai's summer electricity demand peaks, Adani Electricity's team works relentlessly through the night to repair faults in parts of Khar (W) affecting around 7000 of its 25 lakh consumers,” it added. 

Tata Power also issued a statement. “As per initial assessment, Tata Power would like to inform you some parts of Mumbai experienced electricity failure due to MSETCL line tripping as part of the 400KV Kalwa Grid which supplies power to Mumbai and suburban areas. In order to maintain grid balance, load shedding might be initiated. Power will be restored once the MSETCL line gets energised. Tata Power is working with the teams to restore power to its customers at the earliest,” it stated on Tuesday.

Also read: Power outage: Long power cuts, load shedding reported in parts of Mumbai

Rising power demand

India’s coal inventories are at the lowest pre-summer levels in at least nine years. Couple that with the leap in power demand and India is hard-pressed for coal. 

Peak-power demand in India surged to a record high on Tuesday and is expected to rise by as much as 10 per cent next month, the power ministry said this week. 

A shortage of trains to transport coal is exacerbating a fuel supply crisis. However, Indian Railways has increased the supply of coal trains to power houses as well as has loaded more coal rakes on a sustained basis, the government claimed.

Moreover, electricity supply fell short of demand by 1.88 billion units, or 1.6%, during the first 27 days of April. This is the worst monthly shortfall in over six years, as per a Reuters analysis. The report also said that power cuts in Rajasthan, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh were the worst in over six years.

(With PTI, Reuters, India Today inputs)

Also read: India faces power crisis amidst a scorching summer; what's causing the blackouts

Published on: Apr 29, 2022, 10:27 AM IST
Posted by: anwesha madhukalya, Apr 29, 2022, 10:18 AM IST