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Rashmi Ranjan

With severe heatwave condition sweeping across India, the peak power demand in the country touched an all-time high of 207,111 MW on Friday and Odisha is no exception. The demand for power supply has shoot up in the State at a time when there no sign of mercury going down. 

The peak power demand in Uttar Pradesh touched 21,116 MW while 31 percent jump in electricity demand to 13,690 MW has triggered power crisis in Rajasthan. Similarly, in Haryana it touched an all-time high with additional requirement of 3,000 MW electricity.

Meanwhile, there has been a 10 per cent rise in demand for electricity in Odisha due to the prevailing heatwave. The state's peak hour (7 pm to 11 pm) demand has been around 5,000 MW due to hot and humid conditions, while the production was at 4,899 MW.

The power demand in Odisha touched 5500 MW in April this year. As per Central Electricity Authority (CEA) the electricity peak in 2019-20 in Odisha was 5142 MW, while it came down to 3636 MW in 2020-21. The CEA has predicted that the demand may touch 5900 MW this financial year.

However, the Odisha government on Saturday claimed that there was no coal scarcity in any of its power generating stations even as several states faced load shedding due to unavailability of the dry fuel.

Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra said that the state has sufficient coal and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) has been directed to supply the fuel to power plants in the state on a priority basis.

"There is no coal crisis in Odisha like other states where power supply is being snapped for 10-12 hours a day due to shortage of coal. I have instructed the CMD of MCL to ensure proper supply of coal to the power plants in Odisha," he said.

Mohapatra said that prevailing load shedding in certain pockets of the state is a temporary phenomenon and the situation will improve by the first week of May.

He said load shedding in some areas of the state is not due to coal crisis, but because of sudden outage in an 800-megawatt (MW) capacity unit at NTPC's Darlipali plant in Sundergarh district. The state's share in the NTPC's one unit was 400 MW per day.

Delhi, Punjab and other areas are facing acute power outages as their thermal power plants are reeling under coal deficiency or hitting a snag due to increase in load capacity.

The CS said that there has been a 10 per cent rise in demand for electricity in Odisha due to the prevailing heatwave. The state's peak hour (7 pm to 11 pm) demand has been around 5,000 MW due to hot and humid conditions, while the production was at 4,899 MW.

The state has been managing the shortage by augmenting its hydro power stations. This apart, the state also purchases around 20 MW from the central pool even as it wanted to avail 200 MW for the summer season, an official said.

Another official in the Energy Department said NTPC's Darlipali unit will be repaired soon and another unit of Odisha Power Generation Corporation may be functional within a couple of days.

The state's power shortage can easily be met, he said.

Meanwhile, energy experts have attributed the stiff rise in power demand to the increase in electricity consumers in the State. In last two years, the number of consumers has increased by 7 lakh. Besides, the increase in the use of air conditioners, refrigerators and surge in production at industries post Covid-19 has resulted in the demand of electricity.

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