Tuesday, February 21, 2023

India declares an emergency to avoid blackouts this summer

India invokes emergency rules to avoid blackouts this summer


Delhi, India: As the nation prepares to meet rising electricity demand and avoid blackouts, the government is invoking an emergency rule that will require some of the largest coal power plants in the country to operate at full capacity.

A Bloomberg News-received order from the power ministry dated February 20 states that power plants that rely on imported coal will be required to operate at full capacity for three months during the summer to lessen the strain on domestic coal supplies.

The weather has been unusually warm for this time of year in a number of parts of the country, and peak demand for electricity has already been close to records set last summer. By April, peak power demand is expected to reach 229 gigawatts, down from 215 gigawatts last summer, when it was at an all-time high.

Adani Power Ltd.'s massive 4,620 megawatt facility at Mundra in the coastal state of Gujarat and Tata Power Co Ltd.'s 4,000 megawatt facility in the same town are among the affected facilities. Because it is difficult for them to supply electricity at those rates when imported coal prices rise, some of these plants with fixed-price power supply contracts have not been operating at full capacity.

A text message and an email requesting a response from ministry press personnel outside of office hours were unanswered. The order was first reported on Monday by Reuters.

The ministry said it would use Section 11 of the electricity laws in the "larger public interest," and the order will go into effect on March 16 and last for three months. At the height of a power crisis last summer, it had previously used the emergency rule.

In exceptional circumstances, such as a natural disaster or a threat to national security or public order, the government of India can compel any power station to operate as directed under the terms of India's electricity laws.

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