KPCL downgrades its power supply by 500 MW

KPCL downgrades its power supply by 500 MW

Bengaluru: In view of continued shortage in supply of coal, the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) on Saturday alerted the government that it is downgrading its power supply by 500 MW per day with immediate effect.

This resulted in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah convening an emergency high-level meeting, where Energy Minister D K Shivakumar conceded that additional purchase of power had become inevitable to avoid load shedding. Citing that the power purchase might burden the exchequer further, he pointed out that the outages would dent the ruling party's prospects during the 2018 Assembly polls.

KPCL managing director Kumar Naik told DH that Karnataka continues to reel under coal crisis as both the Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) and Singareni Colleries Company Ltd had failed to meet the commitment made earlier this year.

"As this has resulted in hand-to-mouth existence, we have downgraded our generation capacity by 500 MW," he added.

KPCL had written to the Karnataka Regulatory Electricity Commission (KERC) in October stating that it would supply 1,100 MW from November to January 2018; 1,250 MW from February to March; and 1,470 MW in April and May, 2018 from Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS). Likewise, from Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS), it had committed 1,100 MW from November to December; 1,410 MW from January to May, 2018.

But, it has now written to the State Load Dispatch Centre that it will supply only 850 MW from BTPS from December to March, 2018. Jawaid Akhtar, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) said that all measures will be taken not to effect load shedding. "We will meet the gap by purchasing power from the exchange. We will also float another tender for additional purchase of power," he added. Presently, the state is purchasing 900 MW at Rs 4.08 per unit.

Akhtar, however, said that KPTCL was awaiting a report from the SLDC stipulating the gap and the additional power required. "It will be difficult to comment on the power requirement and the financial burden at this juncture," he added. On November 17, the demand stood at 202 MU, which is said to be the highest in the month of November. Of the 202 MU, the KPCL has supplied only 74 MU (38 MU from thermal); while the rest was procured from the central grid and independent power producers.

The Energy department is already making arrangements to import 1 million tonnes of coal. This too is said to be insufficient, according to the KPCL. Shivakumar has also appealed to Siddaramaiah to reach out to the Centre again to help resolve the coal problem.

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