Chennai: Two thermal power plants in Tamil Nadu at Mettur and Thoothukudi (each 210 MW capacity), have been temporarily shut down due to the shortage of coal.
Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) official said that this is due to the transportation of coal from Odisha, which is the only source for Tamil Nadu power generation company.
An official of Tangedco while speaking to IANS said, “There is ample Coal at Paradip Port in Odisha, but it has become difficult to charter bulk carriers at present. There is a long queue of ships at the port and hence we are not able to load coal.”
There are five coal-based thermal power plants in Tamil Nadu and the five plants together require 60,000 tonnes of coal for generation of power but only half the volume or 30,000 tonnes of coal is received.
Tangedco has a heavy shortage of coal and the depletion stock would lead to shutting down of all the power plants leading to a short supply of power. Tangedco officials said that this would lead to spot purchase of power from private entities outside the state and would become a high burden for the power utility.
Another factor that is plaguing the coal supply to Tangedco is the fall in supplies of Coal India Ltd (CIL) due to heavy rains in its mines even though Tangedco has a coal purchase agreement with CIL.
It may be noted that the five thermal power plants together have a capacity of 4200 MW of power and the shortage of coal would lead to the shutting down of these plants and substituting this much power through spot purchase would create major financial losses to the power utility of Tamil Nadu.