‘High demand and low supplies of coal shot up power purchase rates’
The State government has requested the Union government to allot 20 rakes of coal per day to its thermal power plants and revive the stranded / non-working pit-head plants not having power purchase agreements or coal linkage, on an emergency basis to help overcome the prevailing crisis.
Against the total installed capacity of 5,010 MW, the APGenco is generating between 2,300 MW and 2,500 MW due to the severe coal shortage.
A couple of units at the Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant (RTPP) and one unit at the Sri Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Station (SDSTPS) have been shut down, while the Dr. Narla Tata Rao Thermal Power Station (NTTPS) is generating less power than its capacity due to the coal shortage, according to an official release.
The release said the power purchase rates shot up to ₹20 per unit against the average cost of ₹4.50 earlier owing to the high demand and low supplies of coal across the country. At the same time, the average power demand surged to 190 Million Units per day in October 2021 against 160 MU during the corresponding month the previous year.
The State’s total installed capacity (all sources) is 18,533 MW as on date, of which 8,075 MW come from solar and wind, but it does not help in maintaining base loads due to their variable nature.
The State has an installed gas-based power capacity of 908 MW, but only 100 MW are being generated because of the non-availability of the required gas.
The Hinduja National Power Corporation’s thermal power plant of 1,040 MW is mired in cases being heard by the Supreme Court.
According to the release, the APGenco’s thermal plants received an average of 24,000 tonnes of coal per day in September 2021 against their total demand of 70,000 tonnes. The supply increased to 40,000 tonnes on the request of the State government recently.
It is further mentioned that the slump in coal production across the country for the last two years, the steep rise in coal prices in the international market and the recent surge in grid demand in A.P. have led to the power crunch.
Because of the crisis, the utilities, which saved around ₹2,300 crore by adopting best practices and through cost-effective power purchases, are now forced to buy power at prices ranging from ₹14 to ₹20 per unit from the open market.
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