The coal supply situation for power plants is likely improve soon, the government said today after several states raised concerns over blackouts. Delhi has said the city may see power cuts in two days if adequate coal is not sent to power plants. Long power cuts have been reported from Punjab too.
In a statement, the Power Ministry said the coal supply issues are linked to rise in prices of imported coal, among other factors.
There are four reasons for depletion of coal stocks at power plants – unprecedented increase in demand of electricity due to revival of economy, heavy rains in coal mine areas, increase in price of imported coal and legacy issues such as heavy dues of coal companies in certain states liked Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Power Ministry said in a statement today.
An inter-ministerial sub-group led by the Coal Ministry has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week, the government said. The ministry and Coal India Ltd have assured that they are making best efforts to increase dispatch to power sector to 1.6 million tonnes or MT per day in the next three days and thereafter try to reach 1.7 MT per day.
It is likely to help in gradual build-up of coal stocks at power plants in the near future, and coal supply is likely to improve, the Power Ministry said.
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 plants only, increasing dependence on coal.
The import of coal has decreased compared to 2019-20 due to import substitution and rising prices of imported coal. This reduction is compensated by domestic coal for power generation, in turn increasing the demand for domestic coal further.