Coal India Limited (CIL) has taken up on war footing to augment supplies to power utilities of the country to, rein in the lowering coal stocks, and build them up to adequate levels.
For the past three days the company has pushed up its off-take to power plants to 1.4 million tonnes (MTs) per day.
“CIL has taken up this on a mission mode. Availability of coal and subsequent supplies will be ramped up. Despatches to coal fired plants from October onward are aimed at 1.5 MTs per day going beyond 1.6 MTs in due course” said Director (Marketing) CIL. With this, normalcy could be expected soon.
The sudden spike in power generation in the second week of August triggered the increased appetite for coal. As a result,coal demand outpaced the supplies leading to depletion of stocks at the power stations.
Had the power utilities maintained the CEA prescribed normative stock of 22 days the low coal stock situation could have been averted.
Despite monsoon challenges and non payment of outstanding dues, CIL supplied 243 MTs of coal to power utilities during April-September 21 (till 28 September) which is all time high recorded for this time frame for any year.
Compared to around 196 MTs supplied to power utilities previous fiscal same period, the company posted a strong 24% growth with an increase of 47 MTs in volume terms. Compared to covid free period of April-September 2019 the growth wasover11% when the supplies stood at 218 MTs.
Coal stocks were at a comfortable level of 28.4 MTs at the beginning of the fiscal and even at the end of July coal stock at power utilities was 24 MTs at par with the previous five year average of the same period. It was in August that stock at power plants fell by over 11 MTs.
Recent pickup in coal demand is linked to several reasons. Primarily, imported coal based plants worked at low capacity curtailing their generation due to increase in the price of imported coal and its shipping rates. This has resulted in thedemand shift to the domestic coal fired plants. The fact that they have regulated their coal intake further exacerbated the situation.