There is a need to increase the Plant Load Factor (PLF) of various thermal power plants from the current levels of 60 per cent, according to Coal Minister Piyush Goyal.

The advice comes at a time when the Centre claims the demand for power has been growing.

At a meeting here on Friday to review the power supply requirement during the summer and the forthcoming winter season, Goyal said all pithead plants with sufficient coal supply should run at 100 per cent PLF.

The PLF is the actual power generation out of the total installed capacity of a power plant. In India, the average PLF hovers around 60 per cent, even which is accounted for by higher generation from public sector undertaking NTPC’s plants.

Private power plants, on the other hand, have much lower PLF, close to 40 per cent, which they blame on lower coal supplies.

Flexibility rules

An official statement said Goyal also stressed the need for the States located far from mines to use provisions under the ‘Flexibility of utilisation of coal’ rules.

These rules allow coal supplies to be diverted to power stations nearer to the coal source. This is expected to lower the burden on the coal supply chain. Gujarat and Maharashtra have already been using these provisions.

This will enable cheaper power supply to the respective States and efficient utilisation of rolling stock, enabling coal supply for other power stations, the statement added.

Goyal, who is also the Railway Minister, emphasised the need to improve the turnaround time of rakes by better scheduling of trains and optimum utilisation of traffic blocks.

He said the Railways should rationalise operational and maintenance practices on high-density routes.