Tangedco has imported a total of 2,82,000 tonnes of coal between April and June this year after the Centre asked all state power distribution companies and private generators to import coal and blend it with local coal.
Tangedco’s import is the maximum even though it has the lowest thermal capacity among big state-owned distribution companies. Mahagenco (Maharashtra discom) comes next with 2,56,000 tonnes with the total import of all states being 6,05,000 tonnes.
The Union Ministry of Power in a letter on April 28 advised Central generating companies (Gencos), state Gencos and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to import coal for blending purpose in the financial year 2022-23.
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Further, in order to ensure minimum coal stocks in power plants before onset of monsoon, the ministry advised all Gencos to complete placement of awards for import of coal before May 31.
The ministry advised Gencos that domestic coal would be allocated proportionately to all of them based on likely availability of domestic coal from CIL/SCCL from June 1 and the shortfall is to be met from blending of the imported coal.
Following these two orders, Tangedco like other Gencos started to import coal and it landed at the Ennore Port.
“Power demand started to peak this year from March end onwards. We faced a coal shortage and power was also not available in the electricity exchange as private gencos also faced coal shortage,” said a senior Tangedco official.
The coal stock came down to one day or even less in some of the thermal units in April and May. “We had to import as much as possible to face the demand and provide power supply without any power cuts. Only after the wind power generation started, we did not face any coal shortage as wind power was available to face the evening peak,” said the official.
Until July 22, Tuticorin’s old thermal units and Mettur’s old thermal units didn’t have any import coal stock. But the North Chennai and Mettur 600MW units have 30.3 metric tonnes and 135.5 metric tonnes of imported coal.
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“Till September we will have enough power from wind and solar sources. Not less than 80 million units of solar and wind power are being generated each day and this has become a very important source of power supply in the state this year,” said the official.
After September, the demand will be met only with thermal and other sources. “We are confident of meeting the demand even without wind as two units of Kudankulam will start power generation and along with other Central and thermal units will also provide power,” said the official.