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As many as 61 thermal power stations out of 103 are grappling with critical coal shortage with less than a week’s stock at their disposal. Even NTPC, the country’s largest thermal power producer is battling with 0-1 day of stocks at some of its plants
Fuel stockpiles at all the thermal power stations across the country hit a new low in 25 years at 7.2 million tonnes, as Coal India and its subsidiaries failed to meet their production targets, say official data.
According to latest data, released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), total fuel stocks at 103 coal-based stations have come down to 7.2 million tonnes.
This 7.2 million tonnes comprise 6.58 million tonnes of indigenous coal and 706 tonnes of imported fuel.
“This is the lowest in 25 years. The last time it hit a low was in 2010 when it was 7.8 million tonnes,” an official in the Ministry of Power said.
“Coal India’s production is not in line with the demand of the power sector and its subsidiaries Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL) and Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) are not producing coal as per their respective targets,” the official said when asked about the reason for low stock piles.
As many as 61 thermal power stations are grappling with critical coal shortage with less than a week’s stock at their disposal. The country’s largest thermal power producer NTPC is battling with 0-1 day of stocks at some of its plants.
The company’s generating stations with nil stocks include Indira Gandhi thermal plant in Haryana, Rihand, Singrauli and Tanda in Uttar Pradesh and Vindhayachal in Madhya Pradesh, CEA data said.
According to the official, NTPC is generating lesser than full capacity at some of these power plants.
Of the 61 plants with less than seven days of fuel stocks left, 36 stations are reeling under acute shortage with less than four days of stockpiles at their disposal.
Asked when the situation will improve, the official said that it could be in a couple of weeks because of improvement in weather. The power demand will come down as winters are approaching and this will reduce the impact of low stocks.
He added that the real solution lay with the Coal India which will have to meet its production targets and increase its capacity.
CEA, the techno-economic clearance body under the Ministry of Power, is also engaged in setting generation targets and other milestones for the power utilities.