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Warning of a power crisis as coal stocks decline in New Delhi

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The chief minister of New Delhi on Saturday warned of a looming power crisis in the Indian capital of 20 million people due to coal shortages, which have already triggered electricity cuts in some eastern and northern states.

Arvind Kejriwal said he had urged the federal government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allocate more coal and gas to power plants supplying the capital, as earlier in the week many of them had just enough coal stocks to last one day.

“Delhi could face a power crisis,” Kejriwal said in a tweet. “I am personally keeping a close watch over the situation.”

Prices of power-generation fuels are surging globally with industrial growth pushing up electricity demand, leading to a tightening of coal and liquefied natural gas supplies.

In India, over half of 135 coal-fired power plants, which supply around 70% of the country’s electricity, have fuel stocks to last less than three days, Reuters reported on Friday.

In a letter to Modi shared on social media, Kejriwal said coal shortages had continued for three consecutive months, putting pressure on gas-fired power stations that also did not have adequate fuel.

The federal government has, however, assured the public that there is adequate amount of electricity available in the country.

Demand for industrial power has surged in India after the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with increased economic activity driving up coal consumption in the world’s second largest consumer of the commodity.

A widening price gap between lower domestic prices and record global prices has made imports of coal unattractive, leaving Indian utilities scrambling to secure supplies as inventories hit critically low levels.

Photo – A military Police personnel wearing a face shield stands guard outside the Indian Presidential House in New Delhi, India. EPA-EFE/STR

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