A Coal India subsidiary has stopped supplies to independent power producers, acting on the government’s direction to divert stocks to generation companies catering to an unforeseen rise in electricity demand. The decision has triggered protests among the affected buyers who allege they’re being discriminated against.
The coal ministry asked South Eastern Coalfields to suspend supplies from its Korea-Rewa field to independent power producers till the end of the month to boost stocks at thermal stations where inventory has dropped to critical and super critical levels.
A copy of the notification issued by South Eastern Coalfields is available with ET. Torrent Power will be exempt from the ban because it, too, has critical coal stocks, according to the notice. Korea-Rewa produces about 30 million tonnes of coal a year and the decision has been taken due to limited rail loading capacity in comparison to demand. However, non-power coal consumers have started complaining of scanty supplies and the Association of Power Producers has raised the issues of discrimination by Coal India towards some buyers.
“South Eastern Coalfields cannot adopt such discriminatory attitude. All power plants need to be treated in a similar manner. If there is a railways loading capacity problem, supplies should be rationed equitably,” said Ashok Khurana, director general of the Association of Power Producers.
The government’s decision to ration supplies has improved the situation for thermal power plants. Last week, there were about a dozen thermal plants with critical stock positions, which has now declined to seven, according to data provided by the Central Electricity Authority.
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