The country's largest coal producer and supplier CIL on Tuesday said it has upped its supplies by 14.2 per cent to coal-based electricity generating plants in the first half of the current month, but soaring power demand due to hotter-than-normal summer seems to have dwarfed the upsurge in supplies.
Coal India (CIL) said that it is coordinating with the ministries of coal, power and railways to build up stocks at power plants in a synergic effort, in the wake of a decline in coal stocks at power plants.
''Amid the spiraling power generation, CIL raised its supplies to thermal power stations by 14.2 per cent during the first half of April'22 compared to the same period last April,'' the maharatna company said.
CIL's supplies have hit 1.6 million tonnes (MT) per day during this period, against 1.43 MT in the similar period of April FY'21.
The PSU had ramped up its production to 26.4 MT during the first half of April, registering Y-o-Y growth of 27 per cent.
''The company is heading for its highest April production ever. Output expansion in volume terms was 5.7 MT,'' it said.
The company's supplies are on the up so far. The pressure would ease if the imported coal-based power plants meet their requisite imports set for the year, it added.
To tide over the intense demand, CIL has made available additional 8.75 MT of coal to state and central gencos for lifting through rail-cum-road (RCR) mode, till May 31. Of this, 3.25 MT is the unlifted quantity of the earlier round of RCR offer and 5.5 MT is the new offer.
However, the escalating power demand driven up by the post pandemic economic buoyancy and hotter-than-normal summer seem to dwarf the upsurge in supplies, the PSU said.
Mercury levels have soared above 41 degrees centigrade in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences has categorised heatwave status in these northern states. Maximum departure from normal temperature is ranging from 4.8 degrees to 6.2 degrees.
The country's total power generation was 9.5 per cent higher, at an average of 4.53 billion units (BU), till April 15 over the same period last year.
The increase was 400 million units per day, against the average generation of 4.13 BU for the comparative period.
''Coal-fired power generation climbed to an average of 3.5 BU per day in April'22 fortnight, 9.4 per cent more over last April's average of 3.2 BU for the same period,'' it said.
The uptick of 300 million units generated per day includes imported coal as well. The bulk though was fueled by CIL's supplies.
Sequentially, the coal-based generation growth of this period is higher by 5.4 per cent compared to the average of 3.32 BU of the whole month of March.
International coal prices have been on a boil for the past many months showing no signs of cooling off. This turns the spotlight on domestic coal producers with CIL in the centre of it.
Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output.
According to the latest daily coal stock report of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the actual coal stock at 173 thermal plants with total generation capacity of 202.68GW was 34 per cent of the normative level of 66720.4 thousand tonnes as on April 17, 2022.
The actual total stock at these 173 plants monitored by the CEA, was 22796.7 thousand tonnes.
The proportion of actual coal stocks against normative level at 155 non-pit plants with total generation capacity 163.46GW was even lower at 27 per cent. The total coal stock at these plants stood at 15375 thousand tonnes against a normative level of 57424 thousand tonnes.
According to the daily report of Power System Operation Corporation Ltd for Monday, the peak power demand met or the highest power supply in a day across the country was 195.69GW and peak shortage was 3,948 MW.
(With inputs from PTI)