All pithead plants should be given full priority in coal and railway rake allotment, irrespective of the quantities they are contractually entitled to, an office memorandum from the power ministry said.
Given the surge in power demand during the summer season, the power ministry has asked the coal and railway ministries to ensure sufficient fuel supplies to the power plants so that they can run at full capacity utilisation levels (PLFs). All pithead plants should be given full priority in coal and railway rake allotment, irrespective of the quantities they are contractually entitled to, an office memorandum from the power ministry said. “An action taken report may also kindly be forwarded to this ministry at the earliest,” it added.
As on February 5, eight pithead power plants had coal stock to last 10 days while four of them had already received coal as per their annual contracted quantity. CIL has supplied 407 mt of coal to the power sector during current fiscal till February 4, 2019, recording an increase in annual growth of 7.3%. The average rake-loading of the power sector stands at 252.5 rakes/day, 13% higher than the same period of last year. The government expects the supply situation to improve after the reopening of the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line, which ferries the fuel in the coal-bearing areas in eastern India.
As FE recently reported, dispatch of coal from the mines of Coal India (CIL) has fallen for two straight months. The state-owned coal-producing behemoth supplied 52.8 mt and 52.4 mt of the fuel in December and January, recording annual reductions of 1.2% and 2.3%, respectively. Production levels have also been dismal with CIL mining 57.2 mt of coal in January, only 0.9% higher than the year-ago period. In fact, production in December had fallen by 0.9% to 54.1 mt in December. Power plants across the country had imported 5.5 mt in December 2018, about 15% higher than what was imported in the same month in 2017.
To meet the incremental fuel demand from its upcoming 4,880-MW thermal capacity, power producer NTPC plans to import 11.9 mt in FY20, more than twice the 5 mt target set for FY19.