Blackout looms in Tamil Nadu as power utilities have only 3 days' coal

The Tamil Nadu Government has said that thermal stations of the state power utility, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (Tangedco), has only three day's stock of coal.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said in a letter to the Prime Minister that the coal stock in the State has reached a critically low level due to inadequate supply of the fossil fuel from the coal companies. 

"At present, the thermal power stations of the Tamil Nadu Government power utility (Tangedco), has stock that will only last three days," Palaniswami said.

On an average 72,000 tonnes of the fuel are required a day to maintain continuous generation in Tangedco's power plants. This translates into at least 20 rakes of coal on a daily basis. However, on an average the state is receiving only seven or eight rakes a day, the chief minister informed.

This, coupled with the fact that the wind energy season also gets over by mid-September, has made the situation precarious. Unless the coal supply position improves immediately, some of the thermal power stations will have to shut down, leading to power outages in Tamil Nadu, said the Chief Minister.

He urged the Prime Minister to instruct authorities at both, the Ministry of Coal and the Ministry of Railways to ensure a daily supply of 72,000 metric tonnes of the duel to the State at the earliest.

Earlier, Electricity Minister P Thangamani said there were ‘unexpected’ power outages during the past two days. He cited the drop in wind power generation and maintenance work being carried out in central thermal power generating stations and the Kudankulam nuclear power plant as the reasons for the power disruption.

Thangamani said the electricity demand during the months of September and October would normally be about 14,300 mega watt (Mw) and wind generation would be a minimum of 6,000 Mw. Based on the availability of wind generation, the central thermal power generating stations, including the Vallur thermal power plant (1,500 Mw) had scheduled their maintenance work during September this year.

Not even one Mw of power has been generated from the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, which has been shut down for maintenance work the past three months, causing a huge gap in power generation, he said.

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