Thermal power plants reel under severe coal shortage

jith Athrady
Last Updated : 26 October 2018, 10:37 IST
Last Updated : 26 October 2018, 10:37 IST
Last Updated : 26 October 2018, 10:37 IST
Last Updated : 26 October 2018, 10:37 IST

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Thermal Power plants in the country are facing a severe shortage of coal supply with several plants running out of stock.

Inder Jit Singh, secretary to the coal ministry, had written to Coal India, a public sector undertaking, to take immediate steps to augment the fossil fuel’s supply.

In Maharashtra, the Opposition NCP had claimed that several states are facing coal shortages due to diversion of large scale fossil fuel to meet the demands in the poll-bound states— Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The three states are being ruled by the BJP.

According to the latest report from the Central Electricity Authority, 30 power plants are facing a shortage of coal.

In these plants, 17 have stock sufficient for just four days while the rest 13 have stock which may last for less than 7 days.

As per standards, a thermal power plant must have coal stock for 15 days.

A few days ago, Indian Captive Power Producers Associations (ICPPA) had sought intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to improve the supply situation.

The ICPPA members include players from key sectors such as steel and aluminum. The ICPPs generate electricity for their own manufacturing facilities like steel, cement and others.

The shortage at independent and captive power plants has affected supplies to the grid, forcing huge-power consumers to make a beeline for the exchange, an power ministry official said.

Shortage of coal and lower production by thermal power plants also led to the power tariff to sky rocket in the spot market.

On October 3, the tariff touched a decade-high of Rs 18.20 per unit at the spot market.

The reason being that the electricity demand, mainly for evening hours, continues to outstrip supply amid low wind and hydro energy production.

On the same day, the average spot power price was also high at Rs 7.50 per unit at IEX on Wednesday, said an official.

However, the coal ministry officials blame shortage of railway rakes and monsoon for the short supply of dry fuel.

Power Minister R K Singh had recently asked state power generators like NTPC and DVC to strengthen their coal mining wing and secure more coal mines, noting that supply of the dry fuel to power plants was still a concern.

Published 13 October 2018, 18:36 IST

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