Due to the second wave of the pandemic in April-June, 2021, the production and logistic arrangements were also affected as a huge number of manpower got infected, the minister added
Power plants could not maintain sufficient coal stocks during April-November this year due to a rise in electricity demand, heavy monsoon rains which continued till the first week of October, and a rise in imported dry fuel price, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
“During April-Nov, 2021, power plants were not able to maintain sufficient stock as coal-based power generation in the country increased by about 16 percent as compared to the corresponding period of the preceding year due to revival of economic activities,” Power Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Further, the minister said there were interruptions in domestic coal supplies due to heavy rains, which continued until the first week of October 2021 as well as a rise in imported coal prices in the international markets which resulted in less coal import by thermal power plants (TPPs).
Due to the second wave of the pandemic in April-June, 2021, the production and logistic arrangements were also affected as a huge number of manpower got infected, the minister added.
In another reply to the House, the minister said, as per the current import policy, coal is kept under Open General Licence (OGL) and consumers are free to import coal from the source of their choice as per their contractual prices on payment of applicable duty.
“Ministry of Power, on December 7, 2021, has permitted import of coal for blending purpose for the period of 2022-23 by NTPC and DVC up to 10 percent of coal required for ensuring 85 percent Declared Capacity (DC) of its plants. In respect of State Gencos and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), blending up to 4 percent has been advised,” he added.
The minister said an Inter-Ministerial Sub Group comprising representatives from ministries of Power, Coal, Railways; Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Coal India Ltd and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd meet regularly to take various operational decisions to enhance the supply of coal to TPPs as well as for meeting any contingent situations relating to the power sector including to alleviate critical coal stock position in power plants.
Ministry of Power (MoP) has constituted a Core Management Team (CMT) with members from MoP, Railways, CEA, CIL, NTPC, DVC, and POSOCO to ensure close monitoring of coal stocks at TPPs and operational decisions are being taken in CMT to augment the supply of sufficient quantity of coal to TPPs.
To help the power plants enhance their coal stock, CIL in October 2021 had offered about 5.2 million tonne coal from its various subsidiaries to State/Central gencos for lifting through Rail Cum Road (RCR)/ Road mode, he stated.
Revised coal stocking norms based on 85 percent Plant Load Factor (PLF or capacity utilisation) have been issued by CEA, mandating the coal stock of 17 days at pit head stations and 26 days at non-pit head stations to be maintained by power plants during February to June every year, he stated.
Recently, an Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising Secretary (Coal), Secretary (Power), Secretary (MoEF&CC or environment ministry) and Chairman, Railway Board has been set up to review the situation and ensure adequate supply of coal to power plants in the country, the minister said.