How Bad Can It Get?
Coming out of the pandemic, who would have thought there would be troubles lined up for us? This summer has been and will be a difficult one for India. 70% of the country’s electricity comes from coal, and currently, it’s facing a peak crisis. Power Minister RK Singh says that there’s a power shortage as payments have not been made to generation firms. This means there’s not just a coal crisis but also undue payments in the story.
Power generation firms are selling without getting the money on time. Country’s most significant coal supplier Coal India owes about Rs 12,300 crore. Despite not being paid Rs 1.1 lakh crore, power generation firms are still selling electricity with occasional power cuts. The payment delay across the value chain weighs on the power sector. That’s why states are forced to undertake power cuts. Until the outstanding dues are cleared, power cuts will happen, bringing down the industrial activity further triggering inflation.
How Long Will This Continue?
There’s an apparent demand-supply mismatch. The centre had not anticipated a sudden surge in power demand. Also, several states are shying away from buying expensive coal. As per Markets Insider, global coal prices were around $326 per tonne on April 22 against $120 per tonne in January. The prices have almost tripled in just three months. Meanwhile, heatwaves have led to an increase in power demand that the government cannot deliver. So there’s a long list of problems, and it seems that the power crisis will continue until the monsoons arrive.
What Should We Do?
Save electricity as much as you can. Please turn off the lights when you don’t need them and switch to a non-electric stove because someone is facing a power cut somewhere. There’s a lot of problems linked to the power crisis. The only way to solve this is to stay calm and save power.