January 13, 2019

Rail-Coal Synergy has led to a 25% increase in Coal Stock in thermal power plants, ensuring ample production of electricity to meet India’s ever-growing energy needs

New Delhi: Coal stock in thermal power plants has increased by 25% due to synergy between Railway and Coal ministries. According to information provided by the Coal Ministry, the coal stock in power plants as on 31 December 2018 was 16.6 million tonne (MT), compared to 13.19 MT stock a year ago. This increase of 3.41 MT is about 25% as compared to last year.

Similarly, as on 31 December 2018, only nine power plants out of a total of 124 were in the “critical” or “super-critical” category, whereas this number was 13 a year ago.

Also, the coal stock in power plants on 31 December 2018 was sufficient for 10 days. This number has come down to eight, as per latest update from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Critical stock refers to coal availability at a power station for less than seven days, while super-critical stock refers to availability for less than four days.

Interestingly, the coal stock situation was worst about five years ago. As per the CEA figures, as many as 44 plants (out of 100) were having either critical or super-critical coal stock on 1 January 2014.

Overall, average railway rakes per day to power sectors from April to December 2018 was 251.8.

The figure for the corresponding period of previous year was 219.7.

This has resulted in sufficient supply of coal to the power plants. Interestingly, both the coal and railway ministries are headed by Piyush Goyal.

As per information, the coal supply from Coal India Limited (CIL) to power plants was 357.5 MT as on 30 December 2018, as compared to 332.03 MT a year ago. The increase of the coal supply from CIL to power plants is about 7.7% compared to a year ago.

According to a Railway official, in addition to the monitoring mechanism available at coal companies and CIL, coal supplies to power utility sector is monitored regularly by an inter-ministerial sub-group comprising representatives of ministries of Power, Coal and Railways constituted by Infrastructure review Committee of Cabinet Secretariat.

This sub-group, he said, takes various operational decisions for meeting any contingent situations relating to the power sector, including critical coal stock position for power plants.


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