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Coal fired plant

Power plants can use 15% imported coal to tide over crisis

Govt bid to ensure optimum capacity utilisation

Concern over some power plants’ capacity remaining idle

By VIRENDRA SINGH RAWAT

LUCKNOW, Oct 25 (The CONNECT) - Even as the domestic thermal power plants are reeling under coal supply constraints, the Union Power Ministry has allowed generation units to blend 15 percent imported coal to ensure optimum capacity utilisation.

In an advisory dated October 20 to all the thermal power stations, Ghanshyam Prasad, Union Power Joint Secretary said coal-powered stations are advised to maintain coal stocks as per their obligations, and to ensure the availability of plants to meet the electricity demand as required in the grid.

“If the domestic coal supplies fall short of requirements, they may blend with imported coal up to 15 percent,” the advisory mentioned.

He pointed out it has been observed by the Centre that some power plants are “still not generating to their capacity and some capacity remains idle and unutilized.”

The generation capacities have been planned by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) as per the projected demand. If the generation capacity is not available, it would result in the supply side constraints resulting in higher prices of electricity due to demand and supply imbalance, he added.

As per Tariff Policy, 2016, power stations are required to be ready to dispatch at all times to meet the grid energy demand. Due to non-availability of some of coal fired power plants, the electricity grid is constrained and the reliability of supply may get affected if all the power plants are not operating as per the requirements in the electricity grid, the advisory said.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Upbhogta Parishad chairman Awadhesh Kumar Verma claimed the provision of blending 15 percent imported coal would result in higher consumer power tariffs.

“It is well known that the prices of imported coal have surged to $200 per tonne from $60 per tonne in March. Two private groups hold captive coal mines abroad and the fresh advisory will benefit them immensely,” he said in a statement here even as he demanded a CBI probe in the matter.

Verma even warned of launching a countrywide stir by collaborating with peer power consumer forums in other states.

Recently, All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) had alleged brazen “black marketing” by private power producers in the backdrop of the coal crisis, and demanded the constitution of an expert committee to fix responsibility for the crisis.

Federation chairman Shailendra Dubey wrote to union power minister R K Singh demanding a cap be put on the alleged “profiteering” by the independent power producers (IPP).

AIPEF had also expressed concern on the closure of ultra-mega power plants of Tata and Adani at Mundra, which are run on imported coal and have little to do with the coal crisis, apart from heavy backing down of IPPs in Rosa, Lalitpur and Bara units.

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