Coal shortage shuts 40% thermal power capacity in Rajasthan, Maharashtra

The current average power price in the spot market is Rs 5.14 ar unit

Two of the biggest states in the country, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have around 40 per cent of their generation capacity under outage due to coal shortage.

Data with the Central Electricity Authority says of the installed 32,973 Mw in Maharashtra, 13,555 Mw is under outage. In Rajasthan, 4,865 Mw of the installed 11,114 Mw is shut down.

Barring a few under maintenance, major power plants in these states have mentioned "coal shortage" as the reason for the shutdown of the generating unit.

In Rajasthan, a 250 Mw unit at Chhabra, 600 Mw at Kalisindh, two units of 110 Mw each at Kota, 693 Mw at Surtagarh and 600 Mw at the Kawai thermal power station (TPS) have indicated coal shortage on the CEA website for outage. The TPS in Maharashtra which are shut due to coal shortage are Chandrapur (720 Mw), Khaparkheda (420 Mw), Koradi (210 Mw), Paras (2x250 Mw), Amravati (3x70 Mw), GMR Warora (2x300 Mw), Mauda (2x500 Mw) and Solapur (600 Mw).

Neither state's energy secretary responded to calls or SMS sent to them for comment on the coal supply shortage.

Coal stocks at power plants across the country have declined to a point where they can meet the requirement for an average of only five days. The average was six days a week before.

The current average power price in the spot market is Rs 5.14 ar unit. On Monday, the highest was Rs 10 a unit, a five-year peak. This is a major jump over the Rs 2-3 a unit which prevailed earlier, pushing the Centre to launch a drive towards a short-term power market.

Executives say states that are not signing long-term agreements are relying on the short-term market. However, the coal supply crunch and less hydropower this year have put stress on volumes and prices in the spot market.

This supply crunch comes as government-owned Coal India (CIL) claims to have stepped up efforts to bridge the deficit. In an e-mailed statement, it said supply to power plants was 35 million tonnes a day against 29.1 mt in September 2016. Rail rake loading per day during September for power utilities was 192.7 a day, from 162.1 rakes a day during September 2016.

It added that at a meeting with the Union coal and power secretaries on October 3, it was decided that CIL would dispatch at least 215 rakes daily to power plants and this has been consistently done since October 5.


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