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With the recent surge in Covid-19 cases during the second wave, the Union power ministry has requested all state governments to facilitate special vaccination drives on a priority basis for all operational staff in government and private sectors engaged in power generation, distribution and transmission. The vaccination drive should also include contractual employees and personnel from load dispatch centres which contribute to uninterrupted power supply, the letter from the power ministry addressed to the chief secretaries of all the states and Union Territories said.
“I would be grateful, if you could kindly direct the state health machinery in your state to extend all possible support and cooperation in carrying out mass vaccination camps at appropriate locations to cover all power sector personnel on first priority in your state as this would go a long way in keeping the morale of the power sector personnel, besides protecting them from the infection and in enabling them to provide their services continuously for ensuring 24X7 uninterrupted power supply,” Alok Kumar, secretary of the Union power ministry stated in the letter.
FE had recently reported that the Association of Power Producers has asked the power ministry to treat all operational staff across the electricity supply value chain as priority category for vaccination. The Maharashtra government has already categorised all electricity distribution staff of private and PSU power distribution companies as ‘front line workers’, enabling their early vaccination.
Even as the electricity demand has recorded an annual rise for the seventh straight month in March, power demand in FY21 dropped by 1% on a year-on-year basis to 1,271.6 billion units (BU). Power consumption in the country fell 8.5% y-o-y to 625.6 BU in the first half of FY21 as industrial and commercial activities remained muted amid lockdowns.
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