All the units of the 2,340MW Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) will close down by May 15. Blame it on an unprecedented water scarcity. It means there will be more power shortage and extended load-shedding across the state (except Mumbai) this summer, energy minister Ajit Pawar told reporters at Nanded on Monday. The power station currently generates over 1900MW power.
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company officials at Nagpur said that power cuts, particularly in rural areas, will increase in May, once the CSTPS comes to a complete halt. If the rains do not come as per schedule by the first week of June, the situation will worsen further. Currently, the duration of power cuts ranges between two hours and six hours.
The CSTPS authorities said that water level in Irai dam had tanked, forcing closure of two units. It has led to a 710MW power deficit. According to an internal assessment, the plant has just enough water to keep the remaining units running till May 15. But then, there will be a complete closure.
Chandrapur district has been badly hit by the insufficient rains last year. Irai dam, which supplies water to the state’s largest thermal power station, also gives drinking water to the city and the surrounding villages. Currently, the water level in the reservoir stands at 198 metre, which is just 8% of the full capacity, an irrigation department official said. The little water left in the dam has to be preserved to meet the drinking water needs of the city.
This the first time in 15 years that water scarcity will be forcing the CSTPS to shut down all its units. In December, the power station bought water from Chargaon dam in Warora, but it was exhausted in three months.
A senior MSEDCL official said, “We had expected the water level to go down post-May 30. By that time, the rains would have been near. For the intervening period, we had made arrangements to procure 1,900MW from other stations like Dhabol and Parli. But all our calculations have gone haywire. We will now have to decide whether to purchase it from the open market, and at what rate.”