The supply of coal to electricity generating plants increased by 17.09 per cent to 58.45 million tonnes in July due to rise in power demand, the government data said. The government in the last few months has taken various measures to ensure adequate availability of coal for power stations.
The total coal dispatch to power utilities stood at 49.92 million tonnes (MT) in July last fiscal, according to provisional data of the coal ministry. Overall dispatch of coal in the country went up by 8.51 per cent to 67.81 MT last month compared to 62.49 MT in the corresponding month of previous fiscal.
The overall coal production also went up by 11.37 per cent to 60.42 MT in July as against 54.25 MT in the year-ago period. Earlier, the government had mandated Coal India (CIL) to import coal as an emergency measure to avoid the fuel shortage at power utilities and build up buffer stock.
The state-owned firm accounts for over 80 per cent of India’s coal output. Subsequently, CIL awarded the contract for supply of 7.91 lakh tonnes of imported coal to PT Bara Daya Energy Ltd (consortium) to power generation companies (gencos) during August and September.
The gencos that had expressed willingness to buy imported coal included CESC, Adhunik Power, Rattan India, Sai Wardha and Avantha Power & Infrastructure Ltd. On June 9, CIL had floated its maiden tender to import 2.416 million tonnes of coal. On June 10, CIL floated two medium-term tenders for sourcing 6 MT of additional coal from overseas in order to ensure domestic fuel supplies amid the fear of shortage during monsoon.
The move was part of the government’s effort to build up stock of coal to avoid the recurrence of power outages which happened in April due to shortage of the fossil fuel. Coal shortages at various gencos had impacted the electricity supply in the country during the peak summer months of April and May.