Coal shortage prompts TANGEDCO to buy coal; drives up cost

While in 2018-19, the shortage was 0.48 lakh thousand tonnes, it increased to 1.07 lakh tonnes in 2020-21, and till end of October this year, the shortage has been 0.36 lakh tonnes

Revised coal stocking norms have been made by the CEA mandating the coal stock of 17 days at pit head stations and 26 days at non-pit head stations

TANGEDCO has been facing a coal shortage and in 2020-21, it faced a shortage of 1.07 lakh tonnes of coal. Data available from 2018-19 shows that the coal shortage has been on the rise in the last few years.

While in 2018-19, the shortage was 0.48 lakh thousand tonnes, it increased to 1.07 lakh tonnes in 2020-21, and till end of October this year, the shortage has been 0.36 lakh tonnes. The Discom has been importing coal to meet the shortage and this has increased the power generation cost.

In the year 2021-22, the supply of coal has increased, while the gas supply has decreased as compared to the same period in 2020-21. The gas supplied during the last three years remained almost the same.

Also read: TNERC permits TANGEDCO to purchase 1000MW power for 3 years

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“In order to address the issues of coal supplies to power sector, an inter-ministerial sub group comprising of representatives from Ministries of Power, Coal, Railways, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Coal India Limited (CIL) and Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) meet regularly to take various operational decisions to enhance supply of coal to thermal power plants,” said a Coal Ministry official. “The meetings also provide many contingent situations relating to the power sector, including to alleviate critical coal stock positions in power plants,” the official said.

Ministry of Power has constituted a core management team with members from MoP, Railways, CEA, CIL, NTPC, DVC and POSOCO, to ensure close monitoring of coal stocks at thermal power plants (TPPs), and operational decisions are being taken in CMT to augment supply of sufficient quantity of coal to the TPPs.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising of secretary (Coal), secretary (Power), secretary (MoEF&CC) and chairman, Railway Board has been set up to finalize demand in advance, review the situation and take corrective action, with regard to ensure adequate coal supply to power plants in the country.

Also read: States sound alarm as coal shortage tailspins into power crisis

Revised coal stocking norms have been made by the CEA mandating the coal stock of 17 days at pit head stations and 26 days at non-pit head stations, to be maintained by power plants through February to June every year.

To augment availability of domestic gas, the government has taken several steps to enhance exploration and production of natural gas in the country such as discovered small field policy, hydrocarbon exploration and licensing policy, policy for extension of production sharing contracts, policy for early monetization of coal bed methane, etc.

Further, imported RLNG (Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas) is kept under Open General License (OGL) and gas-based power plants are free to import RLNG on mutually agreed terms and conditions.

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