Acknowledging that coal shortage hit power generation in the current year, and that coal supply still was a sore point, the power ministry has said that the sector would need 615 million tonnes of coal supply in the coming financial year. This would also entail an increased demand of railway rakes of 288 per day to meet the demand.
In an inter-departmental meeting of power, coal, railways, along with NTPC and Coal India, held in January, Power Minister R K Singh said efforts should be made to ensure that there was no shortage of coal during the next monsoon season.
“The coal supply situation is still critical, as there are 10 power stations with zero coal and around 55 power plants have coal stock of less than 7 days. Coal companies and the railways should improve coal supply to power stations so that they have sufficient coal stock to meet their requirements and build up their stock to normative level, and there is no shortage of coal during the next monsoon season i.e. June to September 2018,” Singh was quotes as having said in the minutes to the meeting held in January. The minutes were reviewed by Business Standard.
To meet the same and speed up the operations, Coal India would now look at the loading rakes beyond stipulated time and aim for round the clock operations. “CIL assured to load a rake within 5 hours as per existing free loading time from the sidings with loading facility of fewer than 4 rakes/day. It will load a rake within 3 hours from the sidings with more than 4 rakes/day capacity,” said the minutes.
The minutes also quoted power ministry officials citing coal supply was below normative levels in 2017. “During the current year, there has been a loss of generation due to a shortage of coal. The supply of coal during the current year was reviewed and it has been seen that the supply of coal from CIL has improved to 217 rakes per day during November-December. However, there has been a dip during January 2018,” said an official.
Coal deficit started in September 2017 touching a low of six days of average coal availability with power units in October 2017.
Close to 11,000 Mw of units were under forced outage due to low coal stocks. In December, it improved slightly to 10 days and now stands at 12 days. Read More