Friday, December 03, 2021

Punjab

Coal shortage at thermal plants may pose a power problem

VINOD GUPTA | October 23, 2021 05:19 PM

CHANDIGARH: The coal stocks at the thermal plants of the private generators in Punjab have not improved and they continue to live on hand to mouth. This is despite the fact that the power ministry has advised them to build stock as per norms. The coal shortage may pose power problems in the coming festival season.

The coal stock at Rajpura Thermal and Talwandi Sabo is just sufficient for 2.1 and 1.4 days. At GVL the coal stock is for 1.3 days. At Lehra Mohabatt and Ropar thermal plants the stock is sufficient for three days each. Only about 8 rakes of coal were received on Friday.

With the change of weather, the power demand in Punjab has dipped to 6650 MW, so there are no power cuts. On the other side, the supply of coal rakes for thermal plants has not been picked up despite the claims of the central government.

108 lakh units were purchased through the exchange at an average rate of Rs.3.39 per unit.
On all India basis, the average coal stock at thermal plants is just sufficient for 4 days as per the central electricity authority daily report. There are 12 thermal plants that have nil coal stock. The thermal plants in the country where stock is of three days or less are 71. Another 33 plants have coal stock between 4 to 6 days.

Ministry of Power has advised all the coal-based thermal generating stations to maintain adequate coal stock as per their obligations and to ensure the generation as per requirements. In the case of domestic coal shortage, the generators can blend the imported coal up to 15 percent with domestic coal,
wherever technically feasible, to meet the increased power demand in the country.

V K Gupta spokesperson All India Power Engineer Federation said that the blending of imported coal up to 15 % by private generators will increase the cost of supply . Moreover, the private generators are not covered under the CAG audit. It may be mentioned that the investigations of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) regarding forged documents of imported coal by IPPs and particularly by Adani are pending decision in the Supreme Court.

Further, there are two aggravating factors.. The global prices of coal have increased which would make import a costly option. Moreover, the coal production in India has stagnated in past three years while the demand is increasing every year.

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