By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, August 9, 2019: Deficient rainfall has pushed Odisha to battle with a major power crisis. The power surplus state is facing an acute power crunch in the peak monsoon season as its hydropower generation has come down drastically.

The state as of date faces peak power deficit of 2060 Mw with average power shortage pegged as high as of 1650 Mw. Ironically, the power shortfall during monsoon has gone down drastically as even during summer the peak shortfall of power was around 400-500 Mw. Hydropower generation is 410 Mw against the installed capacity of 3725 Mw in the state.

Floods have forced the state to halt operations of its key hydropower stations at Indravati and Balimela. Added to it is the crisis at Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd’s (MCL) Talcher Coalfields, which had also paralysed coal production and despatch to key thermal power plants in the state.

NTPC’s Talcher power plant and the 3000 Mw super thermal power plant at Kaniha faced coal crisis after workers at Talcher Coalfields, ceased work for two weeks over the mishap at Bharatpur coal mine on July 24, before production resumed.

NTPC Kaniha was forced to shut down four of its 500 Mw units owing to a severe coal shortage. As on August 9, the Maharatna power utility is running four units at reduced load with generation totaling 1500 Mw. To run at full load, NTPC needs 55,000 tonnes of coal each day. Against this normal requirement, the power producer is getting 43,000 tonnes – 23,000 tonnes from Lingaraj mines, 10,000 tonnes from Kaniha mines and the rest from Ib valley coalfields and Singareni Collieries, a PSU coal producer.

Odisha is entitled to 520 Mw from NTPC’s Kaniha station. Although power supplies were halted from the Kaniha plant for about two weeks, the station has now resumed supplies to the state grid. As against 520 Mw, the state is getting 230 Mw due to truncated load at Kaniha.

Apart from NTPC’s power stations, GMR Kamalanga plant at Dhenkanal also bore the brunt of the coal crisis.

Officials exuded confidence that coal production and despatches will reach normalcy in up to 72 hours. This has forced the state to buy power from external sources, including the central pool costing around Rs 16 crore each day.

Incidentally, Gridco, the state-owned bulk power buyer-cum-trader is also buying 1000 Mw of costly power from the spot exchanges, apart from NTPC’s generating stations located outside Odisha.

Odisha’s peak power demand as on August 8 had shot up to 3770 Mw and out of this only 1710 Mw was made available, leaving a deficit of 2060 Mw. More than half of the state’s average power demand of 3400 Mw was also unmet.

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