Despite coal shortage state utilities reluctant to buy fuel
New Delhi: As ironical as it may sound, on the one hand power capacity addition has taken a hit due to shortage of coal, on the other, some state generation utilities are refusing to buy more fuel as there are no takers for the expensive electricity produced from these stations.
"Utilities are reluctant to buy coal due to low power demand," a Power Ministry official said.
"Some state power distribution utilities in states including West Bengal, Haryana and Gujarat have shown their reluctance in accepting more coal in view of adequate coal stock at their power stations," he said.
Some power distribution companies have expressed apprehension in buying top quality coal due to higher cost.
"Owing to high cost of higher grade coal from SECL (South Eastern Coalfields Ltd) Korea-Rewa coal mines, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd was facing difficulty in getting generation schedule for their stations. Thus, RVNL had requested stopping the supply of coal from Korea-Rewa," the official said.
The generation schedule could not be prepared as there were no buyers for the expensive power which would have been generated from the plant.
Haryana Power Generation Company Ltd (HPGCL) refused to procure coal due to delay in strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network.
"These discoms are unable to absorb available power with them. This has resulted in backing down of Rajiv Gandhi and Panipat thermal power stations and in turn piling of coal stock at HPGCL's power stations," he said.
He added that Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd (GSECL), owing to high cost of higher grade coal from SECL Korea-Rewa, was unable to get generation schedule for its stations.
"This resulted in piling of coal stock at their power stations and therefore GSECL requested stopping the supply of coal from Korea-Rewa," the official added.
West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL) and Damodar Valley Corporation had also urged the government to stop the supply of coal from Raniganj coal of ECL (Eastern Coalfields Ltd) due to its higher cost.
"DVC expressed their inability to accept this coal as it makes its plants unviable in merit order scheduling," he said.
These entities have requested the government to offer such coal to the needy power utilities.
States which have maximum power shortage are UP, Bihar and southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
According to latest coal stock position report (April 29) by CEA (Central Electricity Authority), 1,200 MW Rajiv Gandhi Thermal Power Station in Haryana has coal stock for 53 days and the 1,360 MW Panipat thermal power plant for 33 days.
In UP, 440 MW Tanda thermal power plant has fuel stock for 37 days and 210 MW Panki plant has coal for 34 days.
Sikka thermal power project (240 MW) in Gujarat has 41 days of coal and Durgapur in West Bengal has fuel that can last 52 days, the CEA data revealed.