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NTPC shuts 500 Mw Kaniha unit due to coal shortage

Company fears that other units may be shut down completely if the situation does not improve in coming days

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata/ Angul 

The utility major, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has shut down one 500 Mw unit of its 3000 MW Kaniha power plant due to acute shortage of coal.

The plant was sourcing coal from nearby Talcher coalfields of Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL), a Coal India (CIL) subsidiary.

The coal scarcity has also hit the capacity utilization of other five other units of the power plant, the second largest power complex under NTPC umbrella, forcing it to generate only 2000 Mw against a full capacity of 3000 Mw.

NTPC officials said, the plant was getting less than 40,000 tonne of coal daily for the last seven days against the requirement of 55,000 tonne coal everyday to run all the six units in full load. The coal stock has plummeted to record low of 40,000 tonne.

As a result, NTPC’s Kaniha plant, which supplies power to 15 states, most of them in south and north-east India, has cut down supply to its feeding states including Odisha.

The officials feared that other units may be shut down completely if the situation does not improve in coming days.

Interacting with media persons at the annual media appreciation meet at Kaniha today, the executive director of the plant, V.B. Fednabis ruled out any early solution to the gnawing coal problem as the nearest Kaniha open cast mine of MCL is not ready to dispatch coal even if NTPC has already laid the railway line.

“Coal is the main factor for less power generation from the plant over the years”, he said.

MCL has allocated 173 lakh tonne of coal for NTPC Kaniha plant annually, but so far, it has supplied 149 lakh tonne.

“Hence, we had to import coal which has pushed up the cost of production. But higher tariff is resisted by the consumers. Cost factor apart, imported coal cannot be blended beyond a certain percentage. We have lost 1947 million unit of power during the current year which is equivalent to 7 per cent PLF. There are also issue of poor coal quality”, NTPC sources said.

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First Published: Fri, March 29 2013. 20:58 IST