The Union Power Ministry has devised a multi-pronged strategy to ensure adequate availability of power during the upcoming summer months. Union Minister for Power & NRE, Sh. R.K. Singh chaired a review meeting on Tuesday, the 07th March, 2023, with senior officers from Power sector, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Railways wherein detailed discussions took place on various aspects to meet the high electricity demand in the upcoming months especially during April-23 and May-23. Shri Alok Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Shri Ghanshyam Prasad, Chairperson, Central Electricity Authority, Shri S. R. Narsimhan, CMD, Grid Controller of India, Smt. Jaya Verma Sinha, Member, Railway Board, Sanjiv Kumar Kassi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Shri Ramesh Babu, Director Operations, NTPC along with other senior officials from these three ministries attended the meeting.
As part of the strategy, the Power Utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance so that no planned maintenance is required during the crunch period. Directions have already been issued under section-11 to all Imported coal-based plants to run at full capacity from 16th March 2023. Adequate coal stocks would be made available at the coal-based power plants. During the meeting, Member Railway Board assured availability of enough rakes for transport of coal. The Ministry of Railways agreed to provide 418 rakes to different subsidiaries of CIL, GSS and captive blocks and also enhance the number of rakes in due course so that sufficient coal stock can be maintained at power plants.
Gas-based power would be used to meet any peak demand. The Ministry has directed NTPC to run its 5000 MW gas-based power stations during the crunch period in Apr-May. In addition, 4000 MW of additional gas-based power capacity would be added by other entities for availability during the summer months. GAIL has already assured the Ministry of Power of the necessary supply of gas during the summer months. All the hydro plants have been instructed to operate in consultation with RLDCs/ SLDCs (Regional/State Load Dispatch Centers) to optimize water utilization in current month for better availability during the next month. An additional capacity of 2920 MW would be available through new coal-based plants which would be commissioned by the end of this month. In addition, after direction from the Ministry, two units at Barauni (2X110MW) will be made available during crunch period.
During the meeting, Union Power Minister asked Power companies to ensure that there is no load-shedding during the summer months. Shri Singh asked all stakeholders to closely monitor the situation and take proactive actions to meet the electricity demand during the coming months. The Minister also asked CEA to ensure that a fair and transparent mechanism is devised for allocation of coal to various States/UTs.
As per estimates of the Central Electricity Authority, the peak electricity demand is expected to be 229GW during the months of April-23, when the electricity demand is highest in the country. The demand then tapers off as monsoon season picks up from the southern part of the country and covers the whole country over the next 3-4 months. With GDP growing at close to 7%, the power demand has been growing in the country at close to 10% per annum. As per estimates, the energy demand is expected to be 1,42,097 MU during April’23, highest in the year 2023 before reducing to 1.41,464 MU in May’23 and further declining continuously to 1,17,049 MU during November.
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