Power Minister RK Singh said on Monday that the nation’s thermal power plants had sufficient coal stocks to meet power demand and that stocks at the plants were rising. India’s coal-fired thermal power plants have been facing low coal stocks, with a number of states including Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh resorting to load shedding due to inadequate power supply.
As on October 24, the plants had an average of five days worth of coal stock, up from four days for most of October but still well below the 15-30 days of recommended levels based on their distance from the source of coal.
“There was no (power) shortage yesterday and it did not happen earlier also. Wherever there has been some shortage that has been because of their (states’) own constraints,” said Singh, adding that thermal power plants at present have 8.1 million tonnes of coal stock which is the highest level since October 1 and the situation would continue to improve.
He said dues from state and central power generation companies (gencos) to Coal India amounted to about Rs 16,000 crore, noting that unless power distribution companies pay gencos, they would not be able to pay for coal. “Dues of all generating companies (excluding state generating companies) are Rs 75,000 crore,” Singh said, speaking at the launch of the Green Day Ahead Market (GDAM) for the trade of renewable power.
On the launch of the GDAM, he said “this will benefit both the distribution companies and the gencos”, noting that the exchange would allow gencos to sell on the exchange any power that is not drawn by discoms.
Singh added that the exchange would “open the gates” for renewable power generators as it would allow generators to set up capacity without going through a bidding process by SECI, NTPC, NHPC or the states. “They can sell directly to any industry or any distribution company … If distribution companies want to buy they will have to do it in a competitive manner.”
The minister said the exchange would also reduce the pressure of renewable purchase obligations (RPO) on state distribution companies set by the Centre.