Enhanced coal despatches are slowly leading a recovery in capacity utilization at thermal power plants
Coal offtake from Coal India Ltd (CIL) has risen by 9.5 percent during April-August to 246.90 million tonnes (mt) from 225.43 mt in the same period of last year. Production of the dry fuel went up 12 per cent to 216.23 mt, marking a 12 per cent growth in the period.
Enhanced coal despatches are slowly leading a recovery in capacity utilisation at thermal power plants. Data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) shows Plant Load Factor (PLF) at thermal power plants improved to 61.64 per cent in April-July this fiscal, from 59.61 per cent for the corresponding period in FY18. The improved load at coal-fired generating stations helped in greater electricity generation from the conventional energy sources. Electricity production in this fiscal at the end of July was 421.3 billion units, a growth of 3.7 per cent over the comparable period of the last financial year. Though renewable power is growing at a rapid pace, thermal power still accounted for 77 per cent of the total electricity generation.
Ratio of coal supplied to coal allocated by CIL and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) to CEA-monitored plants stood at 90 per cent, indicating a shortfall of 10 per cent. Coal e-auction volumes slid by 20 per cent in April-July though prices at the online auctions commanded a premium of 75-85 per cent.
With both production and despatches looking up, the dependence on imported coal supplies has shrunk. Use of imported steam coal fell 9.2 per cent to 17.52 mt in April-July when compared with the same period in FY18.