The ministry, however, stressed that it expects power plants to lift their requirement in time to avoid any shortage which was witnessed last year after the rainy season.
The ministry hopes that the electricity producers which faced fuel problem last time would be careful this year and pile up adequate stocks, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar told .
“No question of coal shortages at power plants. Because they have to have adequate stocks as per CEA guidelines (for) 21-22 days. They will keep stock. In any case they have faced problem last year so they know what are the problems. This year I am sure they are going to be careful,” he said.
Power plants were hit by coal shortages in the second half of 2017 which affected power production in some states.
The ministry said it is fully geared to meet the increased coal demand this time as it has adequate fuel. Moreover, the ministry has also charted out a plan on this year’s production and supply.
“We are fully geared up because we have 55.5 million tonnes of stock at the mines and about 16.5 MTs are with the power plants. What we need to stock at the power plants is about 30 million tonnes and that’s the attempt…So already we have adequate coal with us and there is plan which has been prepared for this year’s production and supply,” he explained.
“Power Ministry is also monitoring independently (coal stocks) and we jointly monitor that…This year that kind of a situation will not arise,” Kumar explained further.
Last time, he said, there was coal shortages because power plants had regulated their intake.
“(This year) They (power plants) will not regulate from their side. All those steps have been taken,” the Secretary said.
In October last year, the Karnataka government had asked the Centre to ensure adequate supply of coal and early allocation of a coal block in Odisha to meet the severe fuel shortage faced by power units.
In the same month, Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam had said that power generation at thermal power stations had reduced by 2,700 MW due to shortage of coal, forcing it to resort to load shedding in the state.
According to the Central Electricity Authority report, as many as 22 coal-based power plants were facing critical fuel supply as on April 18. While 11 plants had criticial stocks of less than seven days while another 11 had super critical stocks of less than four days.
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