Coal first to power

Indian Railways will prioritise the loading of coal for supply to thermal power plants till June-end in a bid to address the fast depleting stock at the generating units.

By A Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 22.05.18
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Calcutta: Indian Railways will prioritise the loading of coal for supply to thermal power plants till June-end in a bid to address the fast depleting stock at the generating units.

At the request of the power ministry, the railways through a May 18 circular gave a higher priority to power plants, effective from May 19 till June 30, 2018.

A Coal India subsidiary (Mahanadi Coalfields) has already issued the instruction to despatch rakes only for power customers.

Data from the Central Electricity Authority show as of May 17, 2018, the actual coal stock at power plants covering a capacity of 1,40,065MW was only for 9 days with a volume of 15.12 million tonnes (mt).

The stock in the same day previous month was for 11 days with a volume of 16.69mt. In the same day in 2017, the stock was for 13 days with a volume of 19.78mt. The normative stock required is for 22 days.

The directives from the railways come in the wake of a review meeting on May 18 chaired by union railways and coal minister Piyush Goyal where power minister RK Singh was present along with the senior officials of the three ministries.

The minister had urged the need to improve the turnaround time of rakes and reduce the terminal detention of wagons inside power plants and coal sidings in a bid to improve the supply situation.

Coal India sources the rake loading has already grown in April with the miner loading 245.7 rakes on average compared with 222.6 rakes per day in April 2017. The miner hopes to improve loading further in a bid to address the shortage in the power plants.

Captive crisis

The priority given to government-owned power plants and independent power units has not gone well with the captive power generators.

"This is an unfair discrimination if all coal is going only to the government and private generators. The captive power producers would have to depend imported coal or source power from grid," Rajiv Agarwal, secretary Indian Captive Power Producers Association told The Telegraph.