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BENGALURU: India’s power ministry on Thursday said it has taken several steps to ensure adequate power availability during the upcoming summer months, in an attempt to allay fears of power cuts due to surging demand in the country.

India faces a high risk of night time power cuts this summer and in coming years, as delays in adding new coal-fired and hydropower capacity could limit the country’s ability to address surging electricity demand when solar energy is not available.

Power utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance to avoid disruptions during the peak summer months of April and May, the statement said, adding all imported coal-based plants would have to run at full capacity from March 16.

Power companies have also been asked to avoid load shedding during the summer months, according to the statement.

Adequate coal stocks would be made available at the coal-based power plants, while the Railway Board has assured availability of enough rakes for transporting the commodity, the power ministry statement said.

Gas-based power would be used to meet any peak demand and all the hydro plants have been instructed to optimize water utilization for better availability next month, the power ministry said.

Construction of as many as 26 coal-fired units with a capacity of 16.8 gigawatts has been delayed by more than a year, data from the Central Electricity Authority shows, with some plants facing delays of more than 10 years. An additional capacity of 2,920 megawatts would be available through new coal-based plants, which would be commissioned by the end of March, the power ministry said.

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