Tamil Nadu coal stocks may run out in 4 days; Chennai faces power cuts

Tamil Nadu’s coal stocks may run out in four days to create a power crisis that has prompted other states to warn of blackouts and ringing up the central government.

According to the media reports, the state power utility cut power in some areas on Friday citing maintenance. Government data shows that the five thermal run by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) have an average stock of 3.8 days, putting the state in the supercritical category. According to sources, the state has contacted the central government and Coal India Ltd (CIL) about the shortage.

The Mettur Thermal Power Station (TPS) has coal stock for a day and Mettur TPS for nine days. North Chennai has stocks for five days and Tuticorin for four. The four are reportedly running scarce because coal lying at Paradip port in Odisha was not supplied. The Vallur power plant in northern Chennai was out of stock after coal supply was stopped partially due to regulations. The plant has fuel supply agreements with CIL.

The state has a stock of 2.63 lakh tonnes compared to the normal 23 lakh tonnes, according to government data. Tamil Nadu, as of Wednesday, had consumed 60,265 tonnes of coal and reportedly received only 36,255 tonnes. It has a total installed capacity of 5820 megawatt. At 100 per cent plant load factor, the state reportedly requires around 72,000 tonnes of coal daily. The state utility said it was carrying out maintenance as several areas of Chennai like Guindy, Injambakkam, Sholinganallur, Redhills, Perambur, Annasalai, Ambattur, and Manali saw power cuts on Friday.

Opposition parties asked the government to prepare for the crisis getting worse. O Panneerselvam, AIADMK coordinator and former chief minister, said chief minister M K Stalin should immediately take up the matter with the union coal minister as supply has reduced to “20,000 tonnes a day”.

“If this situation continues, then Tamil Nadu will plunge into a serious crisis, including power outages and economic slide,” Panneerselvam said in a statement.

The chief ministers of Delhi, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have contacted the coal and power ministries about the coal supply crisis.

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