Following a brutal second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in April and May of this year which claimed many lives daily and resulted in a shortage of medical oxygen, a new menace has come to threaten Delhiites; an issue of intermittent energy outages has begun to loom in the national capital as a result of the country’s chronic coal shortage.
People are restarting economic operations that were halted due to the Covid-19-induced shutdown and preparing for the next holiday season; a warning from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi administration about power outages might cause them problems.
As the coronavirus pandemic is raging on, energy suppliers will need to ramp up and source enough electricity to fulfill the demand for vital services such as hospitals, labs, quarantine centers, and vaccination facilities, among others.
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT OF DELHI HAS TO SAY ON THIS:
Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, stated that the city might experience a power outage and that his government is taking appropriate measures to avert this. Kejriwal said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting his assistance in securing enough coal and gas supplies for the city’s power plants.
“A power outage in Delhi is very much possible. I’m keeping a close check on the situation. We have been trying and doing everything we can to avoid that. Meanwhile, I’ve written a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, requesting his assistance,” Kejriwal tweeted. The Delhi CM stated in his letter to Modi that the city has been experiencing a coal scarcity since August.
Satyendar Jain, the Delhi Power Minister, has appealed to the Centre to look into the situation, expressing the same worry. “Even when the industrial units aren’t working at full capacity, there is still a coal scarcity. We request that the Centre investigate the situation. They supply half of our electricity under a Power Purchase Agreement with us. We’ve reached the point of rationing,” he explained.
It’s being referred to as a ‘man-made calamity comparable to the oxygen shortage.’ “Because it looks to be a man-made catastrophe akin to the oxygen crisis,” Jain concluded, “there is a political potential.We are still unable to generate energy despite having 3.5 times the needed production capacity.”
He also stated that power plants aren’t fully operational. “They are only performing the bare minimum 50 percent of the time, I demand that each plant run at maximum capacity. If a one-month supply is not attainable, a 15-day supply should be supplied. The central government would provide gas for two days, after which there will be no guarantee,” he continued.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
The shortages have sparked worries of possible blackouts in regions of India, where coal accounts for 70% of electricity generation.
Ganesh Srinivasan, CEO of electricity distribution company Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), has warned that a coal scarcity across the nation has resulted in lower power output and that Delhi may see occasional rotating load shedding in the coming days.
He added in a statement that coal-based power plants supplying electricity to Delhi discoms had coal reserves to satisfy generating requirements for one-two day, less than the 20 days required by applicable laws.
However, both Delhi and the national government are considering proactive measures to deal with the dire scenario, such as arranging or diverting coal for electricity generation,” Srinivasan added.
TPDDL, which distributes electricity to parts of north and northwest Delhi, has begun sending SMS messages to its clients asking them to save energy.
“Power supply between 2 and 6 p.m. is at a critical level due to restricted coal availability in generating units across the north. Please use electricity sparingly.’ An SMS received by a TPDDL customer in Burari expressed an apology for the inconvenience caused.
Last Monday, Power Minister R K Singh acknowledged a coal shortfall at the country’s thermal power plants, describing it as above normal. Later, he stated that electricity demand will be reduced in the second half of October, and coal supply at facilities would also improve.
DEMAND FOR POWER IN DELHI:
Delhi’s peak power consumption surpassed that of 2020, according to discom authorities, who added that between July and September this year, the national capital’s peak power demand was 53 percent greater than that of 2020 and 34 percent higher than that of 2019.
Aside from the restart of economic activity, the weather has had a significant influence on the city’s electricity usage. Delhi’s peak electricity usage was 70% greater than on similar days in 2020, according to monthly analysis. On the other hand, due to the wet season, peak power consumption in September 2021 was lower on most comparable days than in September 2020, according to authorities.
Delhi’s peak electricity consumption was at 7,323 MW on July 2 of this year, the highest of the season. According to them, this was just the third year in Delhi’s history when peak electricity consumption exceeded 7,000 MW. Peak electricity consumption surpassed 7,000 megawatts for the first time in 2018, reaching 7,016 megawatts. It reached 7,409 MW in 2019. The season’s maximum peak electricity consumption in Delhi was just 6,314 MW in 2020.
They also said that peak electricity demand in August 2021 was 14% higher than peak electricity demand in August 2020 and 1.18 percent more than peak electricity demand in August 2019.
DON’T FORGET THE RECURRENT WATER CRISIS IN DELHI:
With the arrival of the peak summer season, water demand is already on the increase, while availability is diminishing, making it difficult for both providers and consumers to manage the limited resources.
Furthermore, daily shutdowns for maintenance and other work hurt regular water delivery, with most sections of the capital experiencing little or no water for days at a time. Every summer, questions regarding the managers’ and users’ readiness surface.
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB), which warned in early 2021 that this year’s summer will be challenging, has failed to implement a real-time water supply monitoring system, which has been on its agenda since 2017. It took a long time to install 3,200 flow meters at various places to monitor water supply and locate leaks. Such beneficial ideas should be implemented quickly to prepare for the dreadful condition that Delhi experiences every summer.
Delhi must find methods to improve things; else, it would face serious problems sooner or later. They must do everything possible to restore electricity and water supplies as soon as possible.