As many as 15 power plants did not lift any coal from Coal India in September, foregoing the 2.6 million tonnes of stock they were supposed to lift from the state-run monopoly miner and resulting in thermal power plants across the country receiving delivery of only 80% of the coal allotted to them during the month.

This in turn reduced stocks at various power plants, specially the ones near coal mines. A number of them did not lift their full quota of coal despite stocks falling down to five days, or critical stock position, according to Central Electricity Authority’s definition.

Plants in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab have not been lifting their full quota for several months in a row although their stocks have dwindled to five days in some cases.

Coal IndiaBSE 3.93 % officials said power producers, both near and away from coal mines, are not lifting their full quota of coal each month because they are now assured of railway rakes and coal availability whenever required, unlike in the past when availability of both were uncertain for major part of the year. “While coal can be available on credit from Coal India, power producers need to pay upfront to the railways.

With assured supply of coal whenever required, power producers are not interested in blocking their money by way of stocking large volumes of coal as stipulated by the Central Electricity Authority,” a senior coal ministry official said.

At the time when coal and rakes were not available freely, the Central Electricity Authority had stipulated that all power stations stock coal that would support generation for 15 days in a row. ‘Critical’ and ‘super critical’ stocks were also defined at that time.

As per the definition a pit head plant would be marked with critical stock position if its stocks fell below five days and less than three days would be super critical. For non-pit head plants, critical stocks would be less than seven days and super critical would be less than four days.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com