The current electricity crisis is mainly due to the sharp decline in electricity generation from different fuel sources and not the unavailability of domestic coal, a senior official said on Sunday.
The above statement comes to prominence following reports of many states including Maharashtra facing power outages due to coal shortage.
In an interview with PTI, Coal Secretary AK Jain attributed the low coal inventories at power plants to several factors such as increased demand for electricity due to the boom in the economy post COVID-19, the early arrival of summer, the rise in the price of imported gas and coal and a sharp drop in the production of electricity from coastal thermal power stations.
“This is not a coal crisis, but a mismatch between electricity demand and supply…Electricity demand has seen a recovery as the economy has rebounded, summers have come early and the price of imported gas and coal has risen sharply,” Jain said. Explain.
He added that a series of measures are already underway to improve the total electricity supply in the country.
Gas-based electricity production which has dropped drastically in the country has aggravated the crisis.
“Some of the thermal power plants in India were built along the coast so that imported coal could be used, imported from neighboring countries like Indonesia… But with the sharp rise in the price of imported coal, they reduced the imports”, Jain mentioned.
Coastal thermal power plants are now producing around half of their capacity due to the sharp rise in the price of imported coal. This results in a gap between demand and supply of electricity.
The secretary further said that the states in the south and west are dependent on imported coal. And when domestic coal is shipped by railcars/rakes to the national coal plants in these states to compensate for the loss of imported coal production, the turnaround time for the rakes is over 10 days, creating problems with the availability of rakes for other plants. .
Since last year, the railways have loaded more coal than ever, even reducing rake supply to other sectors to meet increased demand from the power sector. There was a good load of rakes in March.
Since Coal India is a state-owned company, the PSU is expected to bridge the gap between fuel demand and supply by providing additional coal. Last year, CIL supplied approximately 18% more coal to the electricity sector, as there was a fuel stockpile of 100 million tons.
“And also this year we are ready to donate eight percent of that increased number,” the secretary said.
Coal India produced 25% more in the first half of the current month compared to the same period last year, and as a result shipments also increased by up to 25%.
CIL – the country’s largest coal producer and supplier – accounts for more than 80% of national coal production.
Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Saturday that currently, 72.50 MT of coal is available from different sources from CIL, Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) and coal laundries among others.
The Minister had also indicated that 22.01 MT of coal are available with the thermal power stations.
Stating that there was sufficient availability of coal in the country, Joshi had said the same would last for a month and the availability was replenishing daily with record production.
According to government preliminary data, total coal production in FY22 was 777.23 MT compared to 716 MT in FY21, registering a growth of 8.55%.
CIL’s production increased by 4.43% to 622.64 MT in FY22 from 596.24 MT in FY21.
Total coal shipment in FY22 was 818.04 MT compared to 690.71 MT in FY21, registering an increase of 18.43%. PTI SID DRR DRR
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)