During the month of August 2017 as the country was reeling under energy crunch with growth in hydro, nuclear and others sources plunging down by 12%, 36% and 7% respectively, the demand for electricity from thermal power plants went up substantially, which, in fact generated 17% more power compared to August 2016. Coal India Limited (CIL) supported the thermal power stations by increasing coal supplies by 20% to 34.4 Million Tonnes (MTs) compared to 28.6 million tonnes during Aug’2016.
Average rake loading during September 2017 (till 16th) grew by around 22% as CIL has taken it up on a war footing to shore up coal stocks at thermal power stations raising the rake loading to 197 rakes/day compared to 162 rakes on the same date in September 2016. Going further up since 14 September rake loading is at 215 rakes. During the month of August 2017 rake loading averaged at 173.
“In addition, about 25 rakes per day are being moved to Power Sector by rail mode through private coal washeries and goods sheds”, pointed out a senior official of the company.
In another move, coal companies are planning to stock up thermal plants located in longer distance, with additional coal from producing points in a speedy manner. Coal supplies to plants located in shorter distances shall be maintained by offer through road mode from available pithead stock of around 33 MTs (as of 16 September 2017). As a result, power plants located within 60 Kms from the mines may take as much coal from the nearest mines as they can. The existing evacuation capacity then could be utilized to feed coal to long distance plants. CIL has urged power utilities to stock up adequate quantities at their end to avoid criticality.
Also, to assuage the concern of coal fired power plants, facing critical coal stocks, CIL has set up a round-the-clock Mission Control Cell at its Corporate Office to monitor coal desptach from each of its 394 mines on real time basis. Similar, 24X7 Control Rooms have been set up at all coal producing subsidiaries of CIL as well with a toll-free number. (1800-345-4101). Any coal consumer can interact with the control cell for redressal.
“We are mobilizing all our resources to prioritize increased supplies to thermal power stations”, said company official, adding “Coal India and Indian Railways are synergizing their efforts to push more coal to power utilities.”.
Coal production during first two-weeks of September 2017 at 18.30 Million Tonnes (MTs) zoomed up to 12.4% compared to same period last year which was 16.28 MTs. Coal off-take, during the same period has gone up by 17.4% at 20.94 MTs.
Under the close monitoring by Ministry of Coal, CIL is rushing coal supplies to thermal power stations from other means as well, like MGR, Ropeway, Belt etc.
Seizing in to build on the available opportunity of increased coal demand, as a result of sudden spurt in power generation, CIL has geared up to liquidate its pithead coal stock of 33 MTs at its end (as of 16th September 2017). Anticipating the increased demand of power to continue, CIL has planned to increase its production aggressively in months to come.
Increasing the coal production and despatch would not be a problem but real issue is to mobilize coal available at mine head at thermal power plants.