Power plants with a combined capacity of 1,27,449 megawatt (MW) had fuel stocks that would last for less than eight days as of September 28.
Coal India (CIL) said on Wednesday that augmenting dispatch rates, it has supplied 1.4 million tonnes (MT) of the fuel per day during the last three days. From October onward, the company aims to ramp up coal supply to power plants at 1.5 MT per day and will reach 1.6 MT per day by the end of the month.
Power plants with a combined capacity of 1,27,449 megawatt (MW) had fuel stocks that would last for less than eight days as of September 28. The government has already announced its decision to regulate supply to power plants with low utilisation levels having coal stock of more than 10 days, and the fuel will instead be supplied to needy generating stations with low stock but running at high plant load factor.
Coal stocks were at a comfortable level of 24 MT at the end of July. “Had the power utilities maintained the CEA prescribed normative stock of 22 days the low coal stock situation could have been averted,” CIL said. Power demand has seen a robust recovery, led by staggering rainfall, peaking temperature, and the recovering economy after the second wave of Covid-19, contributing to low coal stock at plants.
Even though coal output typically sees a seasonal dip as rains affect production, output in July and August this year remained high at 48 MT on average, compared with the historical 41 MT, analysts at CRISIL noted. The agency said that coal inventory at thermal plants will improve only gradually by next March, and for the ongoing fiscal, it will hover around 10 days compared with the two-year average of around 18 days.
“Despite monsoon challenges and non-payment of outstanding dues, CIL supplied 226 MT of coal to power utilities during April-September, 2021 (till 15 September) which is an all-time high recorded for this time frame for any year,” the state-run coal producer added.