India’s power crisis eases on account of increased coal supply, onset of winter

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 16, 2021, 12:07 PM IST

A technician repairs power supply lines at a power plant In Gujarat. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Coal stocks are expected to get replenished with increased supply with two major Indian festivals—Navratri and Durga Pooja—ending, an official said

India’s power crisis on account of coal supply shortages seems to be easing thanks to the lower demand due to onset of winter in northern India and increased coal supply.

According to media reports, several states in India have rolled back orders to limit power supply as the situation eased.

The report said that Coal India Limited, the world's biggest miner, is expected withdraw its order to suspend coal supply to non-power utilities.

Coal stocks are likely to get replenished with increased supply with two major Indian festivals—Navratri and Durga Pooja—ending, an official said.

However, the non-power sector complained of coal shortages and sought urgent government intervention to improve supplies and keep plants running.

The average coal stock at power plants is reportedly only enough for four days of generation but more of them were able to generate electricity without any hitch, according to October 13 data.

As of October 12, plants with a capacity of 137 GW had low stock, down from 142 GW.

Average spot prices on the Indian Energy Exchange cooled to Rs 9.67 per unit on Friday for Saturday delivery, from Rs 14 last week. Friday was shut for Dussehra.

A top state power official in India’s western Punjab said the power crisis was abating.

He said the state, which witnessed power cuts last week, reported no new blackouts due to low coal stocks at power stations and rolled back electricity curbs on industrial units.

A similar situation prevailed in other states—Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan—with the officials not reporting any new power cuts due to coal supply at power plants.

Restrictions will be eased in the next 10 to 12 days, by which time average inventory at power stations is expected to reach a comfortable level of six to seven days, a senior government official was quoted as saying by local media.

Coal accounts for nearly 70 per cent of India's electricity generation and around three-quarters of the fossil fuel is mined domestically.

As Asia's third-largest economy rebounds following a coronavirus wave, heavy monsoon rains flooded coal mines and disrupted transport networks, leading to a sharp rise in prices for coal buyers, including power stations. 

International coal prices have also soared. 

(With inputs from agencies)