Around 40 of the 101 power plants under daily review by the Central Electricity Authority have coal stocks for less than 15 days, six plants have supply for less than seven days and 12 for less than five days. Power industry sources said the scarcity was due to a decline in coal supply and issues with operation of mines and evacuation.
“'There is no coal shortage. Stocks at two plants are super critical for different reasons,”said Anil Swarup, Union coal secretary. “The plant at Harduaganj is in this stage because coal was diverted to a more efficient plant at the request of the state government. At the Korba plant became super critical because the user agency could not arrange for its own wagon. However, both issues are being addressed,'” he added.
About the 40 plants with less than 15 days of coal, Swarup said it was due to excessive rain. Their stocks were not critical and were being made up regularly, he added. Swarup pointed out a number of plants did not want coal. They were rationalising inventory because coal supply was more reliable now, he said.
Coal production was down by 5.8 per cent in September while electricity generation went up by 2.2 per cent, year on year. “The April-October cumulative production of Coal India was 273.57 million tonnes against a target of 307 million tonnes. This must be causing the shortage of coal at power stations,” said Debashish Mishra, partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
Ashok Khurana, director-general of the Association of Power Producers, said these shortages did not reflect the general coal supply position. ''These are project specific and there will be individual reasons,” he said.