The gap between coal receipt and consumption, including imported stocks, till September 17 in FY24 at domestic coal based (DCB) power plants surpassed 8 million tonnes (mt).

Between September 1 to 17, India’s peak demand met averaged at more than 215 gigawatts (GWs) with an average peak shortage of 1.87 GW and an average generation outage of 43.90 GW.

As per sources, the average consumption at DCB plants in the current month till September 17 stood at 2.31 mt per day against an average daily receipt of 2.02 mt. The gap without imported coal stocks averaged at 2.9 lakh tonne (lt) a day, while that with the imported commodity was 2 lt .

“Power plants were directed to keep importing coal and had the same not been done, it could have led to more depletion in coal stocks since December 2022. However, the situation is not as bad as last year,” said one of the sources.

Cumulative receipts

Overall, till September 17, DCB plants consumed 39.3 mt of coal, while cumulative receipts stood at 34.4 mt. DCB plants consumed 1.5 mt of coal during the period. The gap without imported coal was 4.9 mt, while with foreign stocks it stood at 3.3 mt.

In FY24 till September 17, the cumulative consumption and receipt of coal stood at 380.1 mt and 356.1 mt, respectively. The gap without imported coal stood at 23.9 mt, whereas with foreign stocks it was 15.8 mt. The gap between consumption and receipt of coal, including imported stocks, was 8.1 mt.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has also released a report on the daily consumption and receipt at DCB plants till September 20, which requires clarifications. businessline has reached out to the Power Ministry for a clarification on the parameters related to gap met by draw down from reserve coal stock and gap without imported coal.

Depleting reserves

Data from the National Power Portal also reflects the decline in coal reserves. The stocks at DCB plants depleted by 3.70 mt between September 1 to 20.

On September 1, coal stocks at DCB plants stood at 27.59 mt. The percentage of actual stocks vis-a-vis normative stocks was 55 per cent. Plants with critical stocks were 40. On the same day, peak power demand met during the day hit a record 239.98 mt with a peak shortage of 10.75 GW and generation outage of 39.19 GW.

On September 17, the total stocks fell to 24.33 mt, while the percentage of actual stocks vis-a-vis normative stocks declined to 51 per cent. The number of plants with critical stocks was 39. The peak power demand met on the same day was 188.17 GW with peak shortage of 0.01 GW and generation outage of 51.74 GW. This is also the lowest demand met for the month so far.

The reserve situation diluted further on September 20 as the stocks fell further to 23.89 mt, whereas the percentage of actual stocks vis-a-vis normative stocks also declined to 50 per cent. The number of plants with critical stocks was 40. Peak power demand met stood at 207.06 GW with peak shortage of 063 GW and generation outage of 43.16 GW.

Imports

Earlier this month, the Power Ministry directed DCB plants to import 4 per cent coal by weight till March 2024 as it anticipates a deficit of around 7 mt in H2 FY24.

“It has been noted that, despite an increase in domestic coal supply during Q1 FY24, it fell short of meeting the requirement during August. The gap between coal consumption at DCB plans and receipt of domestic coal has been about 2 lakh tonnes per day. The gap was partly made up with imports without which coal stocks would have declined to critical levels, the Ministry had said.

According to energy intelligence firm Kpler, India’s thermal coal imports rose 8.5 per cent m-o-m to 12.30 mt in August.

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