New Delhi: Amid a severe disruption of electricity supply in different parts of the country due to an acute coal shortage, the government on Tuesday said it has advised coal companies to ensure priority movement of the dry fuel to power stations to improve generation.
“The ministry of coal is regularly reviewing the coal stock position with the power plants of the country and government coal companies have been directed to give the highest priority to coal dispatches for the power sector,” an official statement said.
In a bid to improve the stocks position at power stations, a total of 141 rakes carrying coal were dispatched to various units on 30 October, it said.
“In addition to that, seven rakes and another 1,88,000 tonnes of coal were dispatched through the MGR (Merry-Go-Round transport mode, an exclusive arrangement made by the power stations themselves) to the power stations,” it added.
In October, the railway load dispatched daily from CIL sources was 157 rakes, out of which 128 rakes were destined for power stations.
As per data released by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 33 power plants with a total generation capacity of 39,054 MW across the country were facing an acute fuel shortage and had coal stocks for less than four days on 28 October.
Power plants usually maintain 10-15 days of coal stocks. The situation is considered critical if the reserves fall below seven days’ generation requirement.
The coal ministry said, “The stock position in the power stations of northern India has also been continuously reviewed. The average loading to these stations during the current month has been 44 rakes per day.”
On 30 October, a total of 51 rakes were dispatched, out of which 24 rakes were sent to the power stations of Uttar Pradesh alone. While three rakes were dispatched to the Unchahar plant, the Dadri project was sent 10 rakes. In addition, the thermal power station at Faridabad was sent 10 rakes and the Panipat plant four rakes.
During the last three days, 166 rakes have been dispatched to power stations in northern India. Regular coal supply is being maintained to power plants in Andhra Pradesh as well.
The coal ministry has attributed the shortage of coal to a number of factors, including lower production by Coal India on account of heavy rains in August-September and a strike at Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL), which has been called off.
Regular coal supply from SCCL has been restored, the ministry said last week, adding that it will take some more time for these plants to build up their coal stocks.
Workers of SCCL, which supplies coal to six power plants in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra with a combined power generation capacity of 6,000 MW, had gone on strike from 13 September to 17 October in support of the demand for a separate Telangana state.
The company suffered a production loss of 3.7 million tonnes due to the strike.
Over the past few weeks, the power crisis caused by the coal shortage has thrown life out of gear in various parts of the country, including the North.