The power ministry is looking at the possibility of giving freedom to power utilities to take services of third party sampling of any of the empanelled agencies of their choice, while it has already designated Power Finance Corporation (PFC) to empanel third party sampling agency for grade conformity of coal supplies. Such a possibility arose in the wake of contentions on grade slippages in supplies from Coal India (CIL).
Although CIL said its grade conformity has increased 5 percentage points, up 64% during the first half of the fiscal from 59% during the corresponding period last fiscal, many a consumer contended that quality of supplies has deteriorated with CIL enhancing despatches to tide over the coal crisis the power plants faced following the monsoons. CIL said the increase in grade conformity were according to the finds of third party sampling agencies.
“It is a natural phenomenon that monsoon every year cause a certain degree of deterioration in coal quality due to surface moisture of coal. Loading through payloaders may lead to some amounts of mud and slurry getting in due to sogginess of the ground. But it does not mean that CIL mixes rocks in its supplies,” a CIL executive said.A certain section of coal consumers recently alleged that CIL’s supplies were mixed with mud and rocks leading to enormous grade slippages. Consumers ended up paying for higher grade than they received.
But CIL said isolated incident of grade slippage, if any, would be dealt with severity it deserved but the notion, customers didn’t receive the grade of coal that they paid for was misconceived. No customer suffered financial loss arising out of quality mismatch between the declared despatched grade and the analysed grade, the CIL executive said. As per terms of fuel supply agreement, CIL initially bills customers based on the declared grade of coal despatched.
Such provisional bills are later adjusted once the actual quality of coal is tested and established by an authorised third party sampling agency. All CIL customers have the option for quality assessment of coal supplies through independent third-party sampling agencies (TPSA).CIL has even made the choice wider empanelling Cotenca Inspection India and SGS India as third party sampling agencies, besides Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research and Quality Council of India.
Moreover, a provision in the agreement for challenging the result of TPSAs, empowered consumers to receive the grade of coal they paid for. In case of challenging TPSAs, the part of coal samples preserved was sent to the designated government referee laboratory for re-analysis, the CIL executive said.
Production through surface miners, deployed in open cast mines, entailed blast free selective mining leading to better quality coal output and consistent sized coal. Such coal production posted 11% growth during April-November this year at 180.4 million tonne against 162.5 MT a year ago the same period.