Amid rising possibilities of several parts of the country facing power blackouts due to acute shortage of coal supplies to many states, the government on Sunday assured that ample dry fuel stocks are available to meet the demand of power plants and fears of disruptions are “entirely misplaced”.
Even Power Minister R K Singh said that “unnecessary panic” was created about shortage of coal and all requirements of power distribution companies will be met. Despite this, if any distribution company indulges in load shedding in violation of the power purchase agreement, then action will be taken against it.
Attempting to allay the fears of many states which are left with a couple of days stock of dry fuel, the Coal Ministry in a statement said that adequate supplies are available in the country and “any fear of disruption in power supply is entirely misplaced. The coal stock at power plant end is about 72 lakh tonnes, sufficient for four-days requirement, and at the Coal India Limited (CIL) end is more than 400 lakh tonnes, which is being supplied to the power plants”.
The daily dry fuel requirement of power plants is around 18 lakh tonnes, while daily coal supply has been to the tune of 17 lakh tonnes, the ministry said, adding that due to prolonged monsoon, the supplies to plants were affected, however the coal available with power plants is a rolling stock, which means it gets replenished on a daily basis and therefore “any fear of coal stocks depleting at the plant-end is erroneous”.
The Coal Ministry in fact said that during the current fiscal, domestic dry fuel supply has surpassed imports quite substantially.
“The domestic coal based power generation has grown by nearly 24 per cent in this year (till September 2021) based on a robust supply from the coal companies,” the ministry informed.
In spite of prolonged rains, due to which coal bearing areas got affected, CIL managed to supply more than 255 million tonnes of dry fuel to the power sector, which is the “highest ever” first half supply from it to the power sector.
Out of the total coal supply from all sources, present coal supply from CIL to power sector is more than 14 lakh tonnes per day and with the receding rains, this supply has already increased to 15 lakh tonnes and it is set to increase to more than 16 lakh tonnes per day by the end of October 2021, the ministry claimed.
Meanwhile the Power Ministry also allayed fears of outages, saying that four days of coal reserves are available with the country at present.
Several states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu – had earlier flagged shortage of coal at power plants. In fact Punjab has already imposed rotational load shedding at several places.
Power Minister R K Singh today reviewed the coal stock position in various thermal plants, including those which supply power to distribution companies in the national capital, official sources said.
The minister directed that distribution companies of Delhi will get as much power as has been requisitioned by them as per their demand, they informed.
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) have been directed to fulfill requirements of all distribution companies, including those of Delhi. Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) too has been asked by the minister to provide gas to the distribution companies from all their sources.
Mr Singh said during the meeting that if any distribution company is found resorting to load shedding despite having adequate supply, then action would be taken against it.