NEW DELHI: The power sector coal shortage situation continues to remain grim as data from Central Electricity Authority (CEA) shows that at least 108 power plants had critical or super-critical coal stocks on Oct 4.
At least 64 non-pithead power plants have stock of coal for less than 4 days, and 26 have coal stocks for less than 7 days.
There are 6 non-pithead power plants, which are located more than 1500 km from the linked coal mines, have a stock of coal for less than five days.
Depending on the distance of the power plant (from the coal mines) and the kind of coal – pithead or non-pithead – it uses, a comfortable stock would last for 15-30 days.
The stock is considered critical if it is likely to last for 7 days or less, and super critical if it is for 4 days or less.
The ministry of power in a statement on Tuesday said that the average stock of coal in power plants was for about four days on October 3, 2021.
An official from a public sector power company told TNIE that the shortage of coal is due to an unexpected rise in demand for electricity after March 2021.
“For the last two years, we had not seen any significant rise in power demand, but after March this year, electricity demand rose significantly catching many power companies off guard,” said the official.
According to the ministry of power, the demand for power has been increasing from August 2021 onwards.
In August, the power consumption was 124 Billion Unit (BU) whereas the consumption in August 2019 (before the Covid) was 106 BU, an increase of 18-20%.
The increasing trend is persisting. The demand on Oct 4, 2021 was 1,74,000 MW, 15000 MW more than that on the same day a year ago.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Coal has allowed sale of coal or lignite, on payment of additional amount, by the lessee of a captive mine up to 50% of the total coal or lignite produced in a financial year.
According to the coal ministry, this move would pave the way for additional availability of coal, thus easing the pressure on power plants.
Power demand triggers shortage
- The demand for power has been increasing from August 2021 onwards.
- The demand on Oct 4, 2021 was 1,74,000 MW, 15000 MW more than that on the same day a year ago.
- In August, the power consumption was 124 Billion Unit (BU) whereas the consumption in August 2019 (before the Covid period) was 106 BU, an increase of 18-20%.