Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 10 (PTI): Kerala Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty on Sunday said the State government may have to resort to load-shedding in case shortage of power from the Central pool continues for a long time due to non-availability of coal for the thermal power plants.

For the past few days, the State has been experiencing a shortage of 15 per cent of power from the Central pool due to the closure of four thermal stations due to coal shortage. However, there has been no load-shedding till now.

"Kerala is already affected. Yesterday (Saturday) we received only 30 per cent of our daily quota from Koondankulam. The issues related to coal from Australia and various environmental issues. We need to find a permanent solution. If the situation continues like this for a long period, then we will have to impose power cuts in the State," the Minister told reporters.

The Minister told PTI that the State was waiting for the response from the Union Ministry and a decision on power cuts would be taken only after further discussions with various stakeholders.

An energy crisis is looming large over some States, including Delhi and Punjab, due to a combination of factors such as excess rainfall hitting coal movement and imported coal-based power plants generating less than half of their capacity due to record high rates.

A senior official of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) told PTI that there would be repercussions in the State but that does not mean that it would resort to load- shedding right away.

"Currently, it's manageable. Due to rains these days, the power consumption during the peak hour has come down. At present, we are experiencing a shortage of around 15 per cent. If it goes beyond 20 per cent, then we will have to think about load-shedding," the officials said.

The official said that during peak hours, the consumption in the state ranges from 2800-3800 MW.

"We are experiencing a shortage of 120 MW to 900 MW on certain days. Today, the estimated shortage is around 200 MW," the official added.

Earlier in the day, Krishnankutty said he was in favour of hydel power projects and that Kerala has a huge potential. He said 3,000 TMC of water is available, of which 1,700 TMC can be used for electricity generation.

"But we are not using the same. We need to provide cheap electricity for industries in order to attract investment. Currently, from Idukki, we are generating electricity at a cost of 0.51 paise per unit. However, yesterday during the peak hour we had to purchase for Rs 18 per unit," the Minister said.

The KSEB has asked the customers to self-regulate the usage of electricity during the peak hours.

The average daily power consumption in the State has been hovering around 72 million units (mu) out of which net power imports account for approximately 45 mu.

In a year when the country produced record coal, rains hit movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units, impacting power generation in many States such as Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

While power producers and distributors have warned of blackouts as generation units are running coal as low as two days, the Coal Ministry said the country has adequate coal stocks and low inventory doesn't mean generation would stop as stock is being continuously replenished.

Power plants that usually rely on imports are now heavily dependent on Indian coal thus adding further pressure to already stretched domestic supplies.