On being asked about the development, a CIL official said, “This is only a temporary prioritization, in the interest of the nation, to tide over the low coal stock situation at the stressed power plants and scale-up supplies to them.” The company, the official said, is increasing its production and offtake steadily.
The supply of coal by Coal India (CIL) to the non-power sector has been kept suspended temporarily amid electricity generating plants in the country grappling with coal shortages. “Supplies to non-power sector plants have been kept suspended till further information,” according to a recent letter of Coal India’s arm South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) seen by PTI.
On being asked about the development, a CIL official said, “This is only a temporary prioritisation, in the interest of the nation, to tide over the low coal stock situation at the stressed power plants and scale-up supplies to them.” The company, the official said, is increasing its production and offtake steadily.
For the past four days, supplies to the power sector are consistently at 1.61 million tonne (MT) per day. Once the situation stabilises, expectedly within a short time, and stock at coal fired plants attains comfort level, other sectors will be brought back to their regular supply norm.
In fact, supplies to non-power sector during H1 of the current fiscal at a little over 62 million tonne posted 10 percent growth over last year same period and 11 percent compared to a COVID-free April-September 2019. Even since the demand for coal reached a higher pitch from power sector from August supplies to non-regulated sector (NRS) consumers was close to 18 MT during August-September clocking a growth of 37 percent compared to pandemic free August-September 2019.
Owing to the skyrocketing coal prices at international markets all the consumers have been vying for domestic coal, hiking up the demand. Instead of restricting coal intake, had the power utilities stocked up coal from October of last year till February this year, as was repeatedly requested by coal companies of CIL stock position at the plants would have been better, the official said.
Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had on Wednesday said cumulative coal supplies to thermal power plants crossed 2 million tonne on Tuesday and dispatch of the dry fuel is being enhanced to the plants. “Happy to share that cumulative coal supplies to thermal power plants from all sources including @CoalIndiaHQ recorded more than 2 million tonne yesterday. We are increasing coal dispatch to power plants further to ensure sufficient coal stocks at power plants,” Joshi had said in a tweet.
According to a Coal India official, supplies to power stations have already touched 1.62 million tonne a day in the past two days, with total offtake rising to 1.88 million tonne per day, compared with the month’s average of 1.75 million tonne.
The company also ramped up its output to 1.6 million tonne a day in the past two days and CIL expects to raise production after Dussehra, when workers are back from holidays and the attendance picks up, the official said. Joshi had on Tuesday said the government is making full efforts to meet the coal demand of power producers and stressed that steps are being taken to soon ramp up the dry-fuel supply to 2 million tonne per day, from the current overall dispatch of 1.95 million tonne per day.
The minister had assured all stakeholders of the coal supply required for power generation. CIL had earlier said it is marshalling all its efforts to bridge the demand-supply gap to the extent possible.
Coal India accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal output.