Home / News / India /  Enough coal stock to ensure no outages during the festive season

There are comfortable levels of the fuel stock at the coal-fired power stations to ensure that there is no repeat of the 2021 energy crisis this festive season. Depleted coal stocks last year led to spot power rates surging and supplies of the fuel being diverted away from key customers including aluminum smelters and steel mills. In 2021, electricity demand had surged 16% during the festive season.

Officials said, learning lessons from the October 2021 energy crisis, when power stations were put on outage alert, due to coal stocks falling to the lowest level in years, the ministries of coal and power as well as railways this year have worked out a plan to ensure adequate fuel stocks at electricity generating units. 

Coal is used to produce almost 70% of electricity. 

Electricity demand in India has soared significantly and it is likely to shoot up further during the festive season. “The coal stocks at power plants are at comfortable level as of now. The coal position in states like Haryana, Punjab which last year faced problems of coal shortages at their plants, have comfortable levels of dry fuel at their units," the coal ministry official said. 

"The government is holding regular review meetings twice a week with coal companies to firm up strategies for enhancing both coal production and offtake," he added. 

Moreover, the coal ministry is also coordinating with Railways for rakes for smooth supply of coal to the power sector.

In May this year, several states suffered prolonged blackouts as scorching heat waves boosted energy demand at a time when coal stockpiles were low.

That sent the officials to the drawing board to rework a coal supply plan to avert future crises. Coal-fired power plants were ordered to use imported fuel to operate at full capacity. Stock norms were also revised.

The revised norms mandated the coal stock of 17 days at pit head stations and 26 days at non-pit head stations to be maintained by power plants from February to June every year.

According to the official as on September 11, the coal stock at domestic coal-based power plants is at 25 million tonnes, while on September 11, 2021 the coal stock at domestic power plants was just 11 million tonnes.

(With inputs from agencies)

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