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Several Indian states faced power cuts for up to 10 hours in the past two days amid coal shortages and increased temperature. According to a report by the Hindustan Times, Livemint's sister publication, 100 out of the 165 operational coal plants in the country are running at a "critical level" of stocks.

The current power crisis highlights the strained finances of the country's power sector where many firms have run out of money to pay for replenishment or buy from the grid, or have not placed an order on time.

The power generation companies are also reluctant in purchasing more expensive coal imports. Power officials also said more electricity is available on the grid but some states preferred load shedding over paying extra.

The blackouts are also the outcome of an unrelenting surge in power demand due to heatwave, compounded by a lack of freight train wagons that carry coal from mines to plants.

Consequently, states such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan have opted for 8-10 hours of unscheduled power cuts, mostly in smaller towns and rural areas.

Data from Power System Operation Corporation (Posoco) showed that India’s power demand hit a new record of 207,000 MW on April 28.

On the other hand, the Union Power Ministry has said that firms in states are resorting to load-shedding for cost cutting. Yesterday, power secretary Alok Kumar said that there was still up to 5,000 MW of power available in the Central pool, but no state has placed any request so far.

Further, the temperature touching 47 degrees in some parts of the country has led to increased power demand. In April, which is set to be one of the hottest since 1951, the power demand has risen by 50% in states such as Punjab. India's overall electricity demand has risen by around 10% as compared to last year.

Yesterday, Union Power Minister RK Singh said that power outages are due primarily because states have not paid their dues to Coal India and are unable to lift allocated coal on time.

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