Aiming to boost electricity production in the country, Power Minister Piyush Goyal, on Friday, instructed Coal India to ramp up production from existing mines, increase supplies to utilities by reducing the quantity offered in e-auctions and address the issue of fuel quality.
Goyal, who is also holding Coal portfolio, met top private power honchos, including Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Power, Gautam Adani, Chairman of Adani Group, Vineet Mittal, Managing Director of Welspun Energy, and Naveen Jindal, Chairman of Jindal Power, to look for solutions to address the country’s electricity shortage, which was as much as 7,000 MW in May.
“We have asked CIL to expand coal production to the tune of 50-60 per cent for power companies in the state sector or private sector. We need to enhance power availability in the country,” said Goyal.
He also said that his ministry requested the Ministry of Environment and Forests to allow additional mining from coal mines which are already operational.
He also said that Coal India has been directed to increase supplies of the fuel to power stations and said projects where construction is complete should get preference in allocation.
Besides transmission, distribution of power and availability of gas and other issues related to power sector has been discussed in the four-hour meeting. Power generation in the country has suffered as Coal India has been unable to meet production targets for reasons including delayed approvals for new mines. Importing coal to make up for the shortfall is expensive and utilities are not always able to pass on the higher costs to consumers.
Coal India, the world’s largest coal producer, sells about 7 per cent of its production through e-auctions, where smaller, non-power users walk away with most supplies as electricity generation companies do not bid aggressively in view of tariff caps.