A sharp uptick in power demand and low supply of coal due to the monsoon has pushed overall stock of coal at thermal power plants in India down to 8.1 million tonnes or four days worth of stock on October 1, down from 24 million tonnes or 13 days of coal stock at the beginning of August, according to a government release.
Thermal power plants with a generation capacity of 6,960 MW are currently facing outages due to a shortage in coal supply. Of the 135 power plants in the nation, 72 have coal stocks of below three days compared to a recommended inventory of 14 days.
“The unprecedented increase in coal-based power coupled with supply shortage during monsoon and less stock build up in Apr-June 2021 has led to the depletion of coal stocks in power plants,” the Power Ministry said in a release on Saturday. Power consumption in August-September reached 124.2 billion units per month up from 106.6 billion units in the same period in 2019 which was not impacted by Covid-19.
The release noted that heavy rains in coal mine areas in September had affected both the production and despatch of coal.
Thermal power plants have supplied a disproportionate part of the increased demand with the share of coal-based power generation having increased to 66.4 per cent from 61.9 per cent in 2019.
Indian thermal power plants have also reduced import of coal due to high international prices.
The price of coal imported from Indonesia has risen to about $200 per tonne from $60 per tonne in March, as per the government release.