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Coal ministry and CIL promise to ramp up coal supply amid looming power crisis

Coal ministry and CIL promise to ramp up coal supply amid looming power crisis

New Delhi, Oct (UNI) Amid alarmingly low level of coal stocks at power plants threatening to disrupt power supply, Ministry of Coal and Coal India Ltd (CIL) have promised to increase dispatch of coal to power sector to 1.6 MT per day in next three days thus reducing the gap between consumption and actual supply.

The coal supply would be further increased to 1.7 MT per day. On October 7, total dispatch of coal by Coal India limited (CIL) touched 1.501 MT.

"It is likely to help in gradual build up of coal stocks at the power plant in near future. The coal supply as well as consequent power situation is likely to improve," an official note on coal situation said.

The note listed out four key reasons for the coal crisis with the primary one being unprecedented increase in demand of electricity due to revival of economy. The other reasons are heavy rains in coal mine areas during September, increase in prices of imported coal to considerably high level leading to substantial reduction in power generation from imported coal based power plants and non-building of adequate coal stocks before the onset of Monsoon.

"There are also legacy issues of heavy dues of coal companies from certain states viz., Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh," it said.

In the last few days, coal stock at majority of the thermal plants has sharply plummeted threatening large scale power cuts across various states.

Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday pressed the panic button saying that if the coal situation does not improve the city could face blackout after two days. He compared the ongoing coal crisis with that of oxygen shortage during second wave of pandemic.

Punjab has also planned power cuts for 2-3 hours due to coal shortage.

"A surge in revival of economy after second wave of Covid led to unprecedented increase in demand and consumption of electricity. The daily consumption of electricity has crossed beyond 4 billion units per day and 65 per cent to 70 per cent demand is being met by coal fired power generation only, thereby increasing dependence on coal," the official note said.

Power consumption for the period August-September has progressively increased from 106.6 BU per month in 2019 (normal non covid year) to 124.2 BU per month in 2021.

During this period the share of coal-based generation has also increased from 61.91 per cent in 2019 to 66.35 per cent in 2021, official data showed.

As a consequence, total coal consumption in the month of August-September, 2021 has increased by 18 per cent in comparison to corresponding period in 2019.

Ministry of Power on October 8 issued guidelines for operationalising optimum utilization of generating stations as per the requirements in the Electricity Grid. These guidelines will enable imported coal based plants (having sufficient coal) to operate and ease out the burden on domestic coal.

An inter-Ministerial sub-Group led by Ministry of Coal has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week. In order to manage the coal stock and ensure equitable distribution of coal, Ministry of Power constituted a Core Management Team (CMT) in late August to ensure daily monitoring.

"The CMT is closely monitoring and managing the coal stocks on daily basis and ensuring follow up actions with CIL, Railways to improve the coal supply to power plants," the official note said.

UNI NK

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