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RK Singh review coal supply in wake of power crisis

New Delhi – In the light of the increasing power demand, the Union Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy RK Singh reviewed the coal position of power plants. The Secretaries and officers of the Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, Railways, Coal Companies, Power Utilities and Central Electricity Authority (CEA) were present.

It was noted that as compared to 112.9 billion unit consumption in August 2019, the energy consumption in August 2021 has gone up to 129.5 billion unit. This is increase by 15 percent while the share of Thermal and lignite coal based generation increased by 21 percent. A Core Management Team (CMT) has been constituted to closely monitor the coal stocks at TPPs and Secretary (Power) Alok Kumar has been doing daily review of the situation as well as action taken by CMT.

Coal Subsidiaries of Coal India Limited (CIL) were advised in the meeting to adhere to the targets given to them for September, 2021 and make all out efforts to ramp up coal production so as to gradually build up coal stocks at TPPs. The Minister RK Singh asked CIL to review coal company wise rake loading on daily basis and ensure that it is commensurate to the rake loading target for the month of September, 2021. The stock has to start building up from mid-October so that during foggy season in December no difficulties are encountered.

RK Singh advised to frame a policy for Gencos having captive coal blocks, that Gencos must ensure at least 85 percent of targeted coal production from captive blocks. A system of incentive and disincentive may be evolved for Captive Coal mines if their production exceeds the target or if there is any shortfall in production as compared to targets.

RK Singh stated that he will also take a separate meeting on issues related to captive coal blocks with the concerned Gencos and States to ensure enhancement of coal production from captive coal mines. Before that, on 6th Sept 2021 Secretary (Power) would be taking a meeting with all stakeholders in respect of captive coal mines.

Core Management Team (CMT) will plan to regulate coal supply to plants having stock more than 10 days and the freed up coal from such regulation may be distributed to plants with critical/supercritical coal stocks.

It will be ensured that imported coal based plants should run at 85% PLF. If the States having PPAs with imported coal based plants, fail to schedule power then their domestic coal may be suitably regulated. The States may be given a notice of about 2-3 weeks in this regard so that they may plan their requirement of coal and scheduling of power accordingly.

RK Singh advised that scheduled maintenance of Hydro plants in months of September & October should be deferred. Further, Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) should also review their power production programme.

It was deliberated that CIL would ramp up its coal production from 600 MT to 1000 MT by 2025-26. CIL was advised to tie up with Railways to avoid future bottlenecks in transportation of coal in next two years so as to ensure seamless movement of coal from mines to thermal power plants.

CEA was advised to review the mandatory coal stock limits for pit-head and non-pit head plants. There should be a system of incentives/ disincentives for keeping the coal stocks as per Mandatory limit/ lower than mandatory limit. As during the months of monsoon the supply of coal gets affected, TPPs may be suitably incentivised for ramping up coal stocks prior to onset of monsoon.The ‘incentive’ to TPPs would be in terms of priority in loading from desired mine and supply of crushed coal.

RK Singh desired to get a list of power plants that had regulated coal supply by not submitting/partially submitting programmes in the months of April to June 2021 leading to the problem of coal stocks in August- September, 2021. The defaulter plants should be asked to lift (-) 250 mm uncrushed coal for meeting their shortfall. Further, it was suggested that States should have clarity that coal would be supplied commensurate with the payments made to coal companies.

CEA was asked to prepare daily coal report Gencos wise indicating coal stock in their respective plants. As State/ Central Gencos have been given flexibility to use their linkage coal among any of their plants, Genco wise monitoring may enable better management and movement of coal Genco wise.

The Minister RK Singh asked the Gencos to note the suggestion given by Railways that the issue of transportation bottleneck may happen during foggy season (mid-October onwards) in Northern India and therefore, sufficient coal stock should be built before that. RK Singh desired to explore the possibility of operating more gas based plants during the peak hour. The proposal given by NTPC to the States for scheduling gas based power plants may be finalized for the willing States as early as possible.

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