The two-day strike by trade unions that ended Thursday has worsened the chronic fuel shortage in India’s power sector.
A case in point is NTPC Ltd’s large power projects located at Dadri (1,820 megawatts), Kahalgaon (2,340MW), Farakka (2,100MW), Simhadri (2,000MW) and Talcher Kaniha (3,000MW) and Talcher Thermal (460MW), which depend on coal from fields in eastern India.
Dadri supplies power to the national capital region. While there was a power generation loss of 600MW at the Farakka power plant in West Bengal, those at Kahalgaon (Bihar) and Simhadri (Andhra Pradesh) lost 200MW each.
With mining operations being affected on Wednesday and Thursday, there was a fuel scare at the stations mentioned above that have stocks ranging from one day to less than that.
Most of NTPC’s other stations have less than seven days of coal stock against a mandated 15-day reserve.
“Most of these stations are anyway hand-to-mouth stations,” a company executive said, requesting anonymity. “There will be marginal loss. Some tracks have been cleared and normalcy is returning to the mines.”
To maintain generation at least one third of its capacity, India’s largest power generation utility reduced production at these plants in line with supply.
These power projects represent a tenth of India’s coal power generation capacity of 120,873.38MW.
The same NTPC executive however added, “We had taken some action and the strike had a marginal impact.”