Coal supply to short-circuit New Year bashes

New Delh | Updated: Dec 30 2008, 06:13am hrs
Ready to herald the new year in darkness, with no power supply around Well, thats a near-possibility given the poor coal inventories at the thermal power stations, which may further go down due to dense fog conditions.

The coal supplies are already a perennial problem for power producers. Since large quantities of coal are being supplied through railways only, coal supply would be delayed due to the prevailing weather conditions, an official of a power generation company said.

He said, The dense fog, which has already started grounding flights and delaying passenger trains, would definitely affect the efficiency of freight trains as well. This will make situation more grim.

A Met department official said, Present weather conditions, including dense fog and low temperature, would prevail on Wednesday also in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, north Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Interstitially, according to the latest data available with the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 33 thermal power stations have coal stocks for less than three days and 44 such stations have inventories to run for not more than seven days against an ideal situation of 25-30 days. The data further suggests that there are 11 thermal plants, which have coal stocks for just one day and there are three thermal power plants which do not have coal stock even to last a day!

The total number of coal-fired thermal power units is 77. Also, as per the CEAs latest power generation report, there is notable mismatch between actual and planned power generation targets, with the actual standing at 1,713.30 million units (mu) against a planned 1,810.99 mu.

The thermal power generation in the country constitutes 87% of the total planned 2,129.7 mu.