Coal stocks have fallen at as many as 47 thermal power plants, with total installed capacity of 67,000 mw, to be barely enough for up to six days. These include a dozen plants which have just two days’ stocks, eight that have one day’s stocks and six that don’t have stocks for even one day. However, barring three plants, the situation is not considered ‘critical’ or ‘super critical’ in terms of coal stocks because they have used more coal than they were to be supplied between April and now.
Every power plant has a fixed quantity of coal that is to be supplied by Coal IndiaNSE 7.47 % Limited (CIL) every year. CILNSE -3.43 % strives to give some plants at least 90% of the allocated amount of coal and 75% in other cases. If the plants consume more than the quantity they are meant to be supplied during a certain period, calculated on a pro rata basis, the shortage of coal at these plants is not considered critical or super critical. Plants with payment issues are also not marked critical.
Nevertheless, a pithead plant with less than five days’ stock is considered critical while a plant with coal stock less than three days is considered super critical. A nonpithead plant which receives supplies through railways is considered critical if its coal stock is less than seven days. If stocks fall below four days it is considered super critical.
Plants marked critical or super critical receive special attention from the coal ministry, railways and CIL for replenishing stocks.
According to data compiled by the Central Electricity Authority, four of these 47 plants have been running at more than 90% capacity utilisation while nine have been running at 80-90% capacity utilisation. Eight plants ran at 70-80% capacity utilisation. A dozen power plants ran at 60-70% capacity utilisation.
However, coal supplied by CIL to power plants between April and August declined 4% year-on-year to 190 million tonnes. This included coal supplied to power plants and coal booked through forward e-auction for the power sector.