Amid rising mismatch between demand and supply, union power minister RK Singh on Wednesday stepped in urging state chief ministers to ask state-run generation companies (gencos) to take immediate steps to import coal for blending in order to meet their requirement during monsoon season. The minister, in separate letters to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal, has expressed concern that tender process for coal import has either not started or not been completed in these states.
Singh further asked that state gencos may lift the entire quantity of coal offered under road cum railway (RCR) mode expeditiously to build coal stock. He stressed that in case of failure on either account, it would not be possible to give additional domestic coal to make up the shortfall.
According to the minister, if RCR allocation is not lifted it will be allocated to other needy state gencos and if the present state of affairs continue it may lead to a shortage of coal in states during monsoon adversely affecting the power supply situation in the states.
Singh highlighted that due to increase in demand and consumption of electricity, the share of coal-based generation has increased and the total coal consumption by power plants has also increased. He added that materialization of domestic coal is only about 88% of total requirements.
In order to ensure minimum required coal stocks in power plants before the onset of monsoon, the minister has directed that the thermal power plants owned by state Gencos and independent power producers (IPPs) must use all the sources to maintain adequate coal stock.
Singh’s intervention came days after the union ministry of power advised state gencos to import 10% of coal requirement for blending purposes. States were advised to place orders by May 31, 2022, such that delivery of 50% quantity is ensured by June 30, 40% by August and remaining 10% by October 31.