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Residents of Punjab will have to face power cuts up to two to three hours everyday till October 13 as the electricity supply situation remains grim in the state.

Severe coal shortage has forced the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to reduce power generation and impose load shedding in the state. Because of depleted coal stock, the coal-fired power plants are operating at less than 50 per cent of their generation capacity, said officials.

PSPCL Chairman and Managing Director A Venuprasad told PTI on Sunday the PSPCL was facing acute coal shortage in all of the coal-based plants across the state. Similar situation is prevailing in the neighbouring states of Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan as well as in other parts of India, he further added.

Venuprasad said the PSPCL is procuring power even at exorbitant rates from the market to cater to consumers' demand, including the agriculture sector. The PSPCL met maximum demand of 8,788 MW of Punjab on Saturday, he said, adding that about 1,800 MW of power was procured for meeting requirement for Sunday at a rate of 11.60 per unit from the power exchange.

Despite this procurement of power, the PSPCL has to implement load shedding across the state on all categories of consumers in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply, Venuprasad said.

Power cut duration of about 2 to 3 hours every day will be imposed till Wednesday, he said.

Coal stock with private power thermal plants in Punjab will last one and a half days, while the state-owned units have coal for up to four days, Venuprasad said.

"Yesterday 11 coal rakes were received against the total requirement of 22 rakes. Because of depleted coal stock, these plants are operating at less than 50 per cent of their generation capacity," he said in a statement.

The demand for power from the agriculture sector is still there, he said. He, however, said after the intervention of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, loading of coal rakes has improved.

With the fall in demand and arrival of sufficient quantum of coal for building up the coal stock, the situation shall ease from October 15, he said. Venuprasad appealed to consumers to use power judiciously. 

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