Coal shortage at UPCL forces longer hours of power cuts

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(Stanley Pinto, TNN )  Mar 21, 2013

MANGALORE: Coal shortage problem has again surfaced at Udupi Power Corporation’s 1,200MW thermal power plant resulting in 3-5 hours of power cuts in the region. Loadshedding started a week back with about two hours of power outage. In the past two days, it has become unbearable with the power outages going beyond four hours per day, including a midnight shutdown.

On Tuesday, UPCL was generating 700 MW as against 1,200 MW which is nearly 45% less than the installed capacity. On Wednesday, it was down to 390MW.

Sources added that the consignment of 72,000 tonnes had arrived at the New Mangalore Port on Wednesday and it was being transported to the UPCL’s site at Nandikoor. UPCL needs 11,000 tonnes of coal per day to operate its plant at full capacity and the Wednesday’s load is sufficient for full operations of the plant for a week. Mescom officials hoped that the plant would be able to ramp up production by midnight and power cuts could be reduced to less than half from Thursday. Two more shiploads of coal is expected to arrive in the next two weeks.

Mescom director (technical) DT Shiva Kumar said: “While the unrestricted requirement of Mescom is 850MW, we have been allocated 560MW. Mescom is overdrawing up to 600MW as of now. Power cuts in urban and rural areas are more or less uniform at 4-5 hours per day.”

UPCL supplies 8% of its generated power to Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom), which is vested with the responsibility of distribution of power to the districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga and Chikmagalur. When power generation goes down, Mescom gets 8% of generated power and not the installed capacity.

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