Jaipur, October 9
The state of Rajasthan announced on Friday that it will begin a scheduled power cut for one hour on a daily basis to tackle the nationwide coal shortage that has pushed many utilities to the brink of running out of coal.
Rajasthan’s government-run utility said it would make the cuts in 10 major cities that are home to millions of people, making it the first state to officially schedule outages due to the crisis.
Over half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which in total supply around 70% of the country’s electricity, have fuel stocks of less than three days as per the data from the federal grid operator.
Jharkhand and Bihar are also among the worst affected by the coal shortage. Separately, in Andhra Pradesh, acute supply shortfalls were pushing it towards unscheduled power cuts, adding that crops could dry up if there is no electricity to power irrigation pumps.
“More water is required in the last stage of harvesting and if it is denied, fields would dry up and farmers stand to lose,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Reddy suggested that deepwater well gas available with ONGC and Reliance be supplied to revive stranded gas-fired plants in the state, and financial institutions should lend liberally to distribution companies to buy coal.
“The rates in Day-Ahead and Real-Time power markets are soaring day by day. It is quite an alarming situation and finances of distribution companies would deteriorate further if the situation persists,” Reddy said in the letter.