Andhra Pradesh is facing power cuts of up to 6 hours over coal shortage

The sudden demand for power after the COVID-19 situation has led to the present crisis, say authorities.
TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh staging a protest with lamps and candles
TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh staging a protest with lamps and candles

Shortage of coal stocks in thermal power stations has led to an acute power crisis in the state of Andhra Pradesh, forcing authorities to regulate power. The sudden demand for power after the COVID-19 situation has led to the present crisis, say authorities. 

The power regulation has earned the wrath of farmers and residents, who have been protesting against the government. Along with power regulation, the hike in electricity charges for domestic consumers has prompted opposition parties to slam the Jagan government. 

The electricity charges have been increased by nearly 60%. The tariffs have been increased by Rs 1.40 per unit (for 76 to 125 units) and Rs 1.57 (for 126 to 220 units). The Telugu Desam Party has launched a campaign ‘Baadhude Baadhudu’ (fleecing) protesting the way the government is handling the crisis, going against their stated objective in the manifesto of decreasing power tariffs. The increase in electricity charges is imposing a burden of Rs 16,611 crore on the citizens, according to former Energy Minister Kala Venkat Rao. In response to the hike in electricity tariffs, the TDP and Left parties participated in a statewide protest on March 31. 

The crisis is so severe that without prior notice, industries in the state were given a power holiday from Friday, April 8. Industries which operate round-the-clock have been directed to use only 50% of their power requirement. Along with it, all industries should limit their working days to only five days, in view of the crisis, the notification said.

In several parts of the state, power is cut off for at least four-six hours, irking the residents who are unable to handle the scorching summer heat. 

The power crisis has also affected government hospitals, which are not equipped with backup power generators. Earlier this week, doctors in Narsipatnam government hospital in Anakapalli district, had to deliver a baby using flashlight from cell phones as the hospital did not have power for nearly 8 hours.  

Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu, sharing the video of the same, blamed Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for the crisis. Naidu said that people are suffering and the state is pushed into darkness because of the inefficiency of the government.

TDP general secretary and  Naidu’s son, Nara Lokesh, has been staging a unique protest against the power cuts by distributing hand-made fans, lamps and candles to the residents. 

Last year in October, Chief Minister Jagan had sought the intervention of the Union government asking them to supply 20 rakes of coal to meet the power demand. 

The BJP has expressed its outrage against the state government for blaming the union government’s policies for the power crisis.  Andhra Pradesh BJP general secretary S Vishnuvardhan Reddy on April 8, slammed former Information Minister Perni Nani for misleading the public. He said that the state government not having a vision or strategy led to the crisis.

Meanwhile, speaking to TNM, B Sreedhar, Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited (AP-Genco), said, “There is a coal crisis in the state. And there is a sudden demand for power from every sector including commercial, industrial and agriculture. We are unable to meet the demand with the available stocks of coal, for which we have announced power regulations for industries as well.”

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