A van waits for a loading of coal in a mine in China. (Photographer: Lucas Schifres/Bloomberg News.)

Coal India Boosts Supplies To Power Plants By 14 Percent In April

State-run Coal India Ltd. revved up fuel supplies to power plants by 14.4 per cent to 40.30 million tonnes in April compared to the same month last year ahead of the monsoon season, according to an official.

Coal supplies to the power sector from Coal India in April 2017 were 35.20 million tonnes.

“The volume increase was 5.1 million tonnes,” the official said.

Coal India has gradually improved coal stocks at power plants to around 16 million tonnes as of April 30 from that of a little over 7 million tonnes six months ago, the official added.

The government earlier had ruled out any possibility of coal shortage in the upcoming monsoon season and asserted that it had sufficient stocks to meet the demand of power plants.

“The constant synergistic efforts between Coal India and the Indian Railways to improve the transport logistics led to a situation where the average rake loading per day increased significantly by 23.1 rakes during April 2018,” the official said.

Rake loading per day last month to the whole coal consuming sector grew by 10.4 per cent as Coal India loaded 245.7 rakes on an average compared to 222.6 rakes per day during April 2017.

Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier asked the Railways to increase coal loading to up to 500 rakes per day to meet increased power demand in summer.

The minister in March had reviewed the coal stock position at various power plants and coal loading by Indian Railways.

During the meeting, it was decided that coal loading would be stepped up to 500 rakes per day to ensure power supplies are not impacted due to fuel shortage at the plants.

Power, coal and railway ministries had taken a series of measures to improve coal supplies to plants after electricity prices crossed Rs 11 per unit at energy exchanges in September last.

In January, the government decided on various steps, including the use of dedicated rail transportation and setting up of power projects only within 500 kilometres from coal mines, to boost supplies to power plants.

According to the latest Central Electricity Authority data, 32 power plants out of 114 plants with total generation capacity of 140,065 Megawatts were facing fuel shortage as of May 1. Primary reasons were less allocation of coal by companies.