India heading towards another power crisis in July-August

A lower pre-monsoon coal stock at thermal power plants in India is suggestive of another power crisis in July-August, independent research organisation CREA has said.

The current coal stock stands at 13.5 million tonnes at pithead power stations and 20.7 MT cumulatively at all power plants across the country. “The data compiled from official sources suggest that the coal power plants are in no position to address even a minor spike in the power demand and there is a need to plan for coal transportation well in advance,” Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air’s (CREA) latest report ‘Failure to load: India’s power crisis is a coal management crisis’.

The Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) has predicted a peak power demand of 214 GW in August. In addition, the average energy demand could also increase to more than what it is in the month of May to 1,33,426 million units (MUs).

“The onset of the southwest monsoon will further hamper mining and transportation of coal from mines to power stations…If coal stocks are not replenished to adequate levels before monsoon, the country might be heading towards yet another power crisis in July-August 2022,” CREA said.

It also said the recent power crisis in the country was not due to coal production but “distribution and official apathy”. “It is evident from the data that coal transportation and management was not sufficient to keep up with the increased demand from the power sector…The trends show that thermal power stations were not adequately stocked despite adequate coal mining,” it said.