‘Power crisis triggered by coal shortage not limited to A.P.’
Maintaining that the crisis in the power sector triggered by the coal shortage was not limited to Andhra Pradesh and there were many extraneous factors responsible for it, Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy appealed to the critics not to politicise the issue.
He claimed that the State has won plaudits for the large-scale monetary savings achieved by a slew of measures in the last two years. He blamed the national-level coal shortage for the crisis of the thermal power plants in the State and insisted that it was only a passing phase.
In a press release here on Monday, Mr. Srinivasa Reddy attributed the coal scarcity to the steep increase in its price on account of the major disruptions in production and imported coal becoming costly.
“It is a wrong notion that the AP-Genco was unable to make the necessary purchases owing to financial constraints. In fact, the government has paid the AP-Genco ₹8,000 crore in two years,” he said.
Overhauling was taken up in two of the six units of the Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant (RTPP) as they could not be made fully operational because of the coal shortage. Similarly, maintenance works are in progress in the second unit of the Dr. Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station. The fourth unit of the RTPP was shut down for want of coal.
Generation at two units of the Sri Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Station (SDSTPS) at Krishnapatnam was curtailed due to coal shortage.
‘No coal supply from Telangana’
Mr. Srinivasa Reddy observed that Telangana was better positioned due to the presence of coal mines in its territory but it was not supplying to Andhra Pradesh as the preference was being given to the TS-Genco plants.
“Telangana has superior energy mix of thermal, gas, solar and hydel. As a result, it has coal stocks that would last for five to 15 days even as other States are struggling to keep their plants running,” pointed out Mr. Srinivasa Reddy.
Further, Telangana is able to generate 2,000 Megawatt of hydel power at Jurala, Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar whereas generation by Andhra Pradesh at the Srisailam right bank is possible only when the reservoir is full.
The Minister further said that the total installed power generation capacity of Andhra Pradesh was 18,533 MW, of which 8,075 MW was contributed by wind and solar power. “But, harnessing the potential of renewable energy has certain limitations,” he said.
Andhra Pradesh is largely dependent on the Coal India Limited, the Singareni Collieries and some foreign miners for supply to its plants whose total capacity is 5,010 MW.
“Of the 908 MW of gas-based power, only 100 MW could be generated due to non-availability of the fuel. The shortfall in thermal power generation in Andhra Pradesh due to coal scarcity is ranging from 1,500 MW to 1,700 MW per day. If the crisis deepens, the DISCOMs will be forced to buy power from the open market at high rates,” Mr. Srinivasa Reddy added.