Power cuts imposed in Punjab as coal shortage hits production
Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Amritsar cities face power cuts on Wednesday morning
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which is facing coal shortage due to irregular supply and hike in its pan-India demand, is imposing power cuts ranging from one to five hours in villages and one to two hours in cities.
Criticising the PSPCL, a former senior official said, “Despite facing a similar situation almost throughout the paddy season and its aftermath, when Punjab faced outages—the PSPCL claimed yet again that they had ample power,” he said, adding that the paddy season is yet to start and the demand would touch around 15,000 MW while for now it’s hovering between 8,000 MW and 9,500 MW.
While the PSPCL officially claims there are no power cuts, the situation is getting from bad to worse with power interruptions all through the day. “You run the air-conditioner and in half an hour you have a 15-minute cut. Even during peak evening hours when you expect customer footfall after a scorching day, power pangs are routine now,” says Gurbir Singh, a cafe owner in Patiala.
Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Amritsar cities faced power cuts on Wednesday morning. The daily coal requirement of all five thermal plants is around 75 metric tonnes while operating at the plant load factor of over 85 per cent. Despite running at reduced capacity, the thermal plants in Punjab are not even getting half the daily coal requirement. Hence, all thermal plants are producing less power.
A senior PSPCL official said the situation got worse with shutting of a private thermal plant and continuous rise in power demand. “We hope that a day’s rain, expected and predicted anytime, will help us manage supply and demand for a few days,” he said.
The AAP government is already under pressure to deliver on their 300 units free power promise but the coal situation and expensive power availability in power exchange is making it difficult for them. Already, the Congress and SAD are taking potshots at the new government for their alleged failure to tackle power shortage.