Power plants turn less tight-fisted as coal supply improves

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New Delhi | Published: February 16, 2017 3:27:53 AM

Thermal power stations are lowering the stock amount of coal used for electricity generation, as per the latest data. On February 11, closing stock of coal at the 110 thermal power plants which have coal supply commitments through linkages, stood at 23.8 million tonnes.

coalOn the same day in 2016, total stock in the 101 linkage-committed plants was 35.8 million tonnes.

Thermal power stations are lowering the stock amount of coal used for electricity generation, as per the latest data. On February 11, closing stock of coal at the 110 thermal power plants which have coal supply commitments through linkages, stood at 23.8 million tonnes. On the same day in 2016, total stock in the 101 linkage-committed plants was 35.8 million tonnes.

Concurrently, the data also reveals that the share of imported coal in power plant stocks is also falling.  Although the number of power plants in question were about 9% lower, imported coal in stock on February 11 last year was 2.3 million tonnes, compared to 1.2 million metric tonnes this year. Coal import in December 2016 stood at 14.31 million tonnes against 19.15 million tonnes in December, 2015.

Industry experts attribute improved coal supply as the reason behind the reduction in stock. In December 2016, thermal power producers received 51.7 million tonnes of coal, 19% more than the monthly allocated amount of 43.3 million tonnes. Till February 13, Coal India dispatched 14.8 million tonnes of coal for power plants in the month.

In the last month of 2016, 50.2 million tonnes of coal was consumed by thermal power producers. Out of this, 5.2 million tonnes were imported. All India coal consumption for power generation was 545.9 million tonnes in financial year 2015-16.

Increase in coal-based power generation can be cited as a reason behind the drop in coal stock. Thermal power generation was more than 854 billion units in the financial year till February 11, about 6% higher, as compared to the same period last year.

The reduction in stock has also led to power plants to start regulating lifting of coal stock rather than keeping surplus stock for themselves. Such plants include Raichur and Bellary in Karnataka and Chhabra in Rajasthan.

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