Energy situation not so bleak, country has enough coal for 9 days: Center

Even as the heat wave and electricity crisis continues in the country, the Center released statistics to affirm that the situation is not as gloomy as it is said.

The government sources said the country has 220.2 lakh tonnes of coal stock available in power stations and it is enough to meet the 9-day requirement.

Electricity demand hit a record high of 207.11 GW as of 2:50 p.m. Friday from 182 GW in April 2021 and 133 GW in April 2020, the energy ministry said in a tweet.

Rake availability with the railways has increased from 377 in January 2022 to 411 in April 2022.

The power generation capacity of imported coal-fired power plants (ICB) has also increased from 4 GW in January 2022 to 10 GW in April 2022, he added.

Ministry of Energy sources add that all producers have been advised to import coal for blending purposes up to 10%.

As much as 1.75 MT of coal arrived in April, 3.5 MT will arrive in May and NTPC and DVC will make MT available in August, the ministry sources added.

The government has taken measures to avoid transporting coal over long distances with toll facilities. Additionally, Indian Railways is buying an additional lakh of railcars to increase its rake capacity to meet pressing needs and these new rakes will be introduced in the railways by September 2022, the sources added.

Even though the energy scenario is so worse, so far only 3-4 states have placed orders for the import of coal. The Center has advised other states to place orders by May 2022.

Government sources added that states’ delay in commissioning ICB plants and resolving commercial issues is putting pressure on coal supplies.

Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have yet to respond to central government guidance in this regard, the ministry added.

Discoms don’t pay gencos on time, which adds even more problems to the current situation. So far, discoms owe Rs 1,05,000 crore as due to gencos, this includes Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana.

Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan have been unable to build coal stocks and state power plants owe Rs 7,918 crore to coal companies.

Additionally, some states, which have gas-fired power plants, have not made advanced arrangements in accordance with the PPA, the sources added.

Separately, railroads, which are often blamed for disruptions in coal supply due to lack of wagons, have canceled some passenger trains to allow faster movement of coal wagons.

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)


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