Govt to boost coal supply to power plants from May 19
New Delhi: Government has decided to augment coal supplies to centre/ state power plants and independent power producers (IPPs) from May 19 to June 30 to overcome shortage of the dry fuel and check power crisis.
The decision was taken in a joint meeting of power, coal and railways ministries on May 17, 2018. However, experts think the move may affect captive power generators in sectors like steel and cement.
Ministry of railways has asked all its zones to accord high priority to power plants from May 19-June 30.
"It has been decided that loading of coal for power houses (plants of central/state utilities and IPPs) from good sheds should be accorded high priority till June 30, 2018. These instructions will be applicable on the rake supplies made in goods sheds from May 19, 2018 onwards," it said in a letter to the zones.
The move comes in the wake of power ministry's request for granting high priority in loading of coal for power houses from goods sheds so as to facilitate higher supplies of coal to power sector, it added.
Similar directive was given to South East Central Railways by Coal India arm Mahanadi Coalfields. Indian Captive Power Producers Association Secretary Rajiv Agarwal however termed the decision "bad" and said in the last four years the share of industrial power consumption has reduced from 45 per cent to 40 per cent.
"In the last one year, the captive power producers have been suffering. They are getting 10 to 30 per cent of their coal requirement. We see it as clear discrimination between small and large power plants. It will affect all major sectors including cement, steel, textile, chemicals and aluminium," he said.
According to the data complied by the Central Electricity Authority on May 17, as many as 24 non-pit heads plants were facing coal shortage out of monitored 114 plants.
Among the 24 plants, 18 coal stocks for less than 4 days and classified as super critical while other 6 have coal stocks for less than a week and categorised as critical ones.
Some experts think this may increase coal imports in the country by captive power plants and others.
The shortage of coal has resulted in surge in spot prices to as high as Rs 10.80 per unit in September last year.
The government in October last said the issue of coal supply to power plants is being addressed in a co-coordinated manner by the ministries of power, coal and railways.