What forced Indian government to invoke blackout emergency rules?

The Ministry of Energy has invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Law as the country prepares to meet the growing demand for electricity and avoid blackouts during the summer season.

India invokes emergency rules

The government made this decision as peak power demand is expected to reach 229 gigawatts (GW) in April, according to an order issued by the Ministry of Energy late on February 20.

“To guarantee the availability of electricity to meet the forecast demand, it is necessary to increase the generation of the ICB plants”.

Accordingly, in the wider public interest, to ensure optimal generation from ICB plants, instructions are issued under Section 11 of the Electricity Act 2003 that all ICB power plants must operate and generate power at their maximum capacity.

When the imported coal-based plant is under NCLT (National Company Law Court), the resolution professional will take the necessary measures to make it work”, reads the order issued by the Ministry of Energy.

The ministry previously invoked the emergency rule during a power crisis last summer when scorching heat caused widespread blackouts and threatened economic growth.

unusually hot weather

Several parts of the country are experiencing unusually hot weather for this time of year and peak electricity demand over the past week is already close to the record levels seen during last year’s energy crisis.

The government expects peak power demand to hit 229 gigawatts in April, up from an all-time high of 215 gigawatts seen last summer.

The affected plants include Adani Power’s giant 4,620MW facility in Mundra, in the coastal state of Gujarat, and Tata Power’s 4,000MW plant in the same city. Some of these plants with fixed-price power supply contracts have not been operating at full capacity as they find it difficult to supply electricity at those rates when imported coal prices rise.

The ministry expects a peak demand of 229 gigawatts in April and to address that India would need to run a thermal capacity of 193 gigawatts that month, according to the notice.

India expects its power plants to burn around 8% more coal in the fiscal year ending March 2024, with increased economic activity and erratic weather to continue fueling power demand growth.

The emergency law has been invoked for the second time in as many years.

Public interest

Ministry press officers did not respond to an email and text message seeking comment outside of office hours, Reuters reported on the order on Monday.

The ministry said it would invoke Section 11 of the electricity laws in the “broader public interest” and the order will take effect for three months from March 16. He previously invoked the emergency rule last summer at the height of an energy crisis.

India’s electricity laws allow the government to compel any power station to operate as directed in extraordinary circumstances, such as a natural disaster or a threat to national security or public order.

What is Section 11 of the Electricity Law?

Under Section 11 of the Electricity Law, the government may require power-generating companies in extraordinary circumstances, such as a natural disaster or a threat to national security or public order, to operate and maintain production in accordance with the instructions given.

The section provides that an appropriate commission may consider offsetting the adverse financial impact of the instructions on any generation company in any way it deems appropriate.

Imported coal-based power plants in India

  • Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd
  • Adani Power Mundra Ltd. (TPS-1 & I|)
  • Adani Power Mundra Ltd (TPS-|II)
  • Essar Power Gujarat Ltd.
  • JSW Ratnagiri Ltd.
  • Tata Trombay Ltd.
  • GSECL Sikka Ltd.
  • IL&FS Tamilnadu Power Company Ltd
  • Muthiara-Coastal Energen
  • Udupi Power
  • Simapuri Energy Ltd
  • Meenakshi Energy Ltd
  • JSW Torangallu-1 & 2
  • SEPC Power Private Ltd.
  • OPG Generation(P) Ltd


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