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64 non-pithead power plants face severe coal shortage; Power minister refutes reports of severe power shortage

At least 64 non-pithead thermal power plants are left with less than four days of dry fuel stocks, news agency PTI reported. A report from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) showed that 25 non-pithead power plants are left with coal stocks for less than seven days as on October 3.

The CEA monitors coal stocks at 135 power plants across the country. All of them together generate 165 GW on a daily basis. The total coal stocks of 78,09,200 tonnes were available at the 135 plants on October 3, which was sufficient for four days.

The daily requirement of these 135 power plants with 165 GW of installed capacity is 18,24,100 tonnes. Not a single one among the 135 plants have eight or more days of coal stocks.

Non-pithead plants are power plants where the coal mine is more than 1,500 kilometres away. The report showed that there were seven non-pithead plants which have less than five days of coal and one plant has less than nine days of stocks of dry fuel.

Among the pithead power plants, three power plants have less than three days of coal and seven of them have less than five days of stocks of dry fuel.

There were 17 plants which have the cumulative installed power generation capacity of 21,325 MW which have zero coal stocks while 2o plants with 22,550 MW have one day of the dry fuel stocks. At least 20 plants which have a total generation capacity of 29,960 MW have two days of coal stocks whereas 19 plants which can produce 22,000 MW have three days of dry fuel stocks, according to the report. 31 other power plants have also reported severe shortage of coal stocks.

Union minister for power RK Singh refuted the reports of coal shortage in an interview with news agency ANI. He said that the demand for power shows that the economy is recovering. “The demand for coal has increased and we are fulfilling this demand. We are in a position to meet the further rise in the demands,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“If we see today’s stock, we have coal stock for 4 days. Coal rakes are coming daily. We have a committee headed by the power secretary having top officials from the Union ministry of railways and coal who are reviewing the situation daily and are keeping a close eye on the demand and supply situation,” he further added.

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