Coal crisis worsens as 77 plants have coal stock for less than four days

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Bhubaneswar: India’s thermal coal crisis continued to worsen as nearly 106 thermal power plants of 131,869 MW (131.86 GW) combined capacity had coal stock for less than seven days, reflecting shortage of the dry fuel as on 5th October.

According to the daily stock data of Central Electricity Authority (CEA), out of the 106 power plants, 77 plants of combined capacity of 98,205 MW are facing super-critical coal stock and even 17 plants have 0 days of coal stock. On the other hand, 12 plants have 4 days of stock, 9 plants have 5 days of stock and 7 plants have 6 days of coal stock.

A power plant is said to be facing critical coal stock situation if it has fuel for less than seven days and termed supercritical if it has fuel for less than four days.

India has installed power generation capacity of 388.13 GW which includes 202 GW coal-based power generation capacity, 24.9 GW gas based power, 46 GW hydro power, 6.7 GW nuclear power and around 93 GW of renewable (solar, wind) as on August 31, 2021.


Stock in Days (Critical/Super Critical) Number of Plants Capacity (MW)
0 day 17 18920
1 day 27 33775
2 days 19 24750
3 days 14 20760
4 days 12 12204
5 days 9 10220
6 days 7 8970
7 days 1 2270
8 days 0 0
TOTAL 106 131869

Source : CEA

Rising Demand, Limited supply

Rising electricity demand after opening up of economic activities has dealt a body blow to the global power market altogether. As a result, even leading coal producing nations like China are forced to implement several bouts of power cuts and shutting down industrial units. Aggressive coal buying by China has pushed up Coal prices in the international market making it unviable for Indian importers to import coal.

On the other hand, heavy rain is coal producing states in the month of September has severely affected India’s domestic coal production. Public sector Coal India, which has almost monopoly in coal mining in India, has reported only 0.4 percent production growth in the month of September at 40.7 million tonnes. However, coal off-take grew by 3.6 percent to 48.3 million tonnes.


Though Coal India’s performance is expected to improve following the withdrawal of the South West Monsoon, the critical stock situation at the power plant is likely to continue in the near term, said a report by

“CIL’s performance is expected to improve post-monsoon, from Oct’21. However, critical stock levels recorded at power plants show that the situation is likely to continue in the near term, keeping demand for domestic coal strong in the process. Until, the power supplies are stabilised completely, we are likely to see power outages in some pockets. Besides, the prospects of a rise in power costs also indicate a consequent price hike from the end-user industries” said Steelmint.


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