Coal India plans to boost stock at thermal power plants by March
Coal India plans to boost stock at thermal power plants to over 45 million tonnes (mt) from 20mt by March.
The decision follows the coal stock crisis at thermal power plants in September that prompted the Centre to intervene by forming an inter-ministerial committee comprising the coal, power and environment secretaries and the chairman of the Railway Board to review the situation and take corrective action and ensure adequate supply to power plants.
Union power minister R.K. Singh informed the Lok Sabha earlier this month that revised stocking norms have been mandated by the Central Electricity Authority whereby pit-head stations have to maintain a stock of 17 days and non-pit head stations a stock of 26 days from February to June every year.
Coal India on Thursday said the stock enhancement to 45 mt at thermal power plants by the end of the fiscal is based on a projection where the average coal fired power generation of previous five years — from December to March — was considered and increased by 7 per cent.
On top of the current stock of 20mt, an additional 25mt coal stock is required to meet the requisite demand.
Coal secretary Anil Kumar Jain has held a workshop with senior officials of Coal India and its subsidiaries and underscored the importance of shoring up coal stocks at power plants with indigenous coal.
Coal India’s despatches to power plants have peaked to 340 MTs at the end of November, posting a 23 per cent year on year growth. At this rate the public sector miner by the end of the fiscal anticipates crossing the previous high of supplying 491 MT to the power sector in 2018-19.
Industry sources however pointed out that a cause for the coal stock crisis has been the outstanding dues from state and central power generating companies with the amount still at a substantial level of around Rs 15,100 crore in November but lower than Rs 21,500 crore at the start of the year. This creates a liquidity crunch for Coal India subsidiaries – Western Coalfields, Eastern Coalfields and Bharat Coking Coalfields that need large capex push.