New Delhi: A total of 83 thermal power plants (TPPs) of capacity 106.83 GW, which is a little over half of India's total coal-based power generation capacity, have three or less than three days' coal stock as on October 7, according to fresh data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The number of such TPPs was 75 (capacity 91,655 MW) on October 4 and 72 on September 30. According to the CEA, India's total installed power generation capacity stands at 383.37 GW, out of which coal accounts for 202.67 GW.
The total number of thermal power plants (TPPs) with eight or less than eight days of coal stock has risen to 110, as on October 7. The cumulative capacity of these 110 coal-based power plants is 136.16 GW. In comparison, the number of TPPs with seven or less than seven days of inventory was at 108 (of capacity 132.229 GW) on October 4 and 104 (of capacity 126.819 GW) on September 30. This indicates that more thermal power plants are entering the list of plants with critical coal stock even as the government has claimed that there is ample coal available to meet India's power demand.
CEA data shows that a total of 16 TPPs with a capacity of 16,880 MW continue to have zero coal stock. As was reported by PSU Watch last week, 16 TPPs had zero coal inventory as on October 4. Thirty coal-based power plants of capacity 37,345 MW have a day's coal stock, while 18 plants of capacity 23,450 MW have two days' inventory and 19 TPPs of capacity 29,160 MW have three days' coal stock. Only 25 plants out of 110 TPPs have between four to six days' coal stock, the CEA data shows.
In the non-pithead category, a total of 69 thermal power plants have less than four days' stock and 23 TPPs have less than seven days' coal stock. In addition, in the category of non-pithead plants which are more than 1,500 Km away from the pithead, seven coal-based power generators have less than seven days' inventory, while two have less than nine days' coal stock. Non-pithead thermal power plants are power plants where the coal mine is 1,500 Km or more than 1,500 Km away. These power plants usually get coal via rail mode.
The data comes in the backdrop of the government stating that there is ample coal to meet India's power demand. "The daily average coal requirement at power plants is about 18.5 lakh tonnes of coal, whereas the daily coal supply has been around 17.5 lakh tonnes per day. Due to the extended monsoons, the despatches were constrained. The coal available at power plants is a rolling stock which gets replenished by supplies from coal companies on a daily basis. Therefore, any fear of coal stocks depleting at the power plant end is erroneous. In fact this year, domestic coal supply has substituted imports by a substantial measure," the Ministry of Coal has said in an official statement.
However, notwithstanding the assurance, several states like Delhi, Jharkhand, Bihar, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Kerala have issued warnings about load-shedding on account of coal shortage crisis.