The Union Power Ministry has listed four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks, after chief ministers of Delhi, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh flagged the issue of shortage of coal at power plants.
As per the release by the Ministry of Power, an inter-Ministerial sub-group led by the Ministry of Coal has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week.
Reasons for the depletion of coal stocks
1) An unprecedented increase in demand for electricity.
2) Heavy rains in coal mine areas during September 2021.
3) An increase in prices of imported coal to an unprecedented high level.
4) Non-building of adequate coal stocks before the onset of Monsoon
“There are four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks at the power plant end- unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy; heavy rains in coal mine areas during September 2021 thereby adversely affecting the coal production as well as despatch of coal from mines; increase in prices of imported coal to unprecedented high level leading to a substantial reduction in power generation from imported coal-based power plants leading to more dependence on domestic coal; non-building of adequate coal stocks before the onset of Monsoon,” read the release.
There are also legacy issues of heavy dues of coal companies from certain states viz., Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Power Ministry said.
The Power Ministry pointed out that a surge in the revival of the economy after the second wave of Covid led to an unprecedented increase in demand and consumption of electricity. “The daily consumption of electricity has crossed beyond 4 Billion units per day and 65 per cent to 70 per cent of the demand is being met by coal-fired power generation only, thereby increasing dependence on coal,” it said.
The Power Ministry issued guidelines on October 8 for operationalising optimum utilization of generating stations as per the requirements in the electricity grid. These guidelines will enable imported coal-based plants (having sufficient coal) to operate and ease out the burden on domestic coal.