Chandigarh, Aug 28: The power supply situation may go from bad to worse in Punjab, with PSPCL’s thermal power plants facing “acute shortage” of coal supply, left with coal stock for just 3 to 5 days to fire energy plants. Despite taking up the matter with the Centre, the coal supplies to three power plants of Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) continue to remain at “critical” levels.

“Yes, there is a scarcity of coal stock being faced by PSPCL thermal units. Plants are having coal stock of 3 to 4 days,” PSPCL, Director Distribution K L Sharma told PTI today. Punjab has already been facing unscheduled load shedding in the range of 5-6 hours per day because of gap between demand and supply. With lower coal supplies to PSPCL’s thermal units, Lehra Mohabbat plant is left with coal stock of 48,000 tonnes, enough for running the plant for just 3.5 days.

Similarly, Ropar thermal plant is having 54,000 tonnes of coal stock which will be sufficient for just 2 days, while Bathinda plant is left with 38,000 tonnes of coal, which will be enough for 5 days, official sources said. The combined power generation capacity of state-owned three thermal plants is 2,640 MW. Ideally, there is a need to maintain coal stock by each thermal unit for minimum of 21 days for running plant smoothly as Punjab being far away from coal producing states, official sources said.

However, PSPCL officials maintained that there has not been any disruption in power production despite “scarcity” of coal.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in meeting held with Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on August 19 had urged him to direct Central Coalfield Ltd (CCL) to immediately supply committed quantity of 3.5 coal rakes per day during the paddy season.

However, CCL, in a letter written, has asked PSPCL authorities to take up the matter with the Railways for increasing the supply of rakes for transportation of coal. CCL has said that it made an offer of loading of 86 rakes in July against which Railways allotted 64 rakes and 52 rakes were supplied.Meanwhile, power situation continues to be grim in Punjab as power utility imposing load shedding in the range of 5-6 hours a day on all categories of customers in the wake gap between demand and supply because of hot weather conditions.

“We are facing a gap of 125 lakh units at present because of hot weather conditions prevailing in the region,” said Sharma.
PSPCL has also not been able to provide promised 8-hour of power supply to the farm sector because of gap between supply and power. Farm sector is getting 5-6 hours of power supply at present.