Mahagenco’s regulated coal intake puts Maharashtra under power crisis

Each rake loads an average 4,000 tonne and cutting down by 11 rakes a day would mean reducing 44,000 tonne of coal intake per day.

Maharashtra State Power Generation Co (Mahagenco) had asked Coal India (CIL) subsidiary Western Coalfields (WCL) to stop despatches of coal to Bhuswal, Paras, Parli and Nashik thermal power stations, aggregating generation of 3,180 MW, restricting stock building at the plant heads . Lowering coal stock at plants was at the horizon then.

Although CIL had asked Mahagenco to stick to its scheduled despatch plan, the genco in two consecutive letters to WCL available with FE, had asked to cut down on coal supplies and also stop supplies to the aforesaid thermal power stations (TPS) until further requests were made from them.

The letter Mahagenco wrote to WCL in June, stated that Mahagenco’s 2,880 MW units including Parli, Bhuswal and Paras TPS were completely under reserve shut down and therefore the CIL subsidiary was requested to supply 10.5 rakes of coal a day instead of the programmed 22.7 rakes a day, a reduction of above 50% of the programme.

However, WCL in its reply to Mahagenco suggested its TPS to go as per scheduled plan since during the monsoons both production and despatches would be hampered. Therefore, it was suggested to build up stocks at their end.

“Normally during rainy season it is observed that the coal production ranges around 0.8 million tonne per day. Hence for an uninterrupted supply of electricity in monsoon season, it is advisable to augment the coal stock at various power plants of Mahagenco as per programme filed for the month of June 2021”, the WCL letter said.
Subsequently in July, Mahagenco wrote to WCL that the miner was “loading 10-11 raw coal rakes per day” and “considering the present situation Mahagenco has coal requirement at Chandrapur, Koradi and Kharpekheda TPS”.

The genco asked WCL to despatch 5 rakes a day to Chandrapur, 3 rakes a day to Koradi and Kahrpekheda TPS, respectively. ” Rakes despatches towards Bhuswal, Paras, & Nashik TPS should be avoided till further request from Mahagenco”, the letter said.

Each rake loads an average 4,000 tonne and cutting down by 11 rakes a day would mean reducing 44,000 tonne of coal intake per day.

Although Mahagenco has been restricting coal supplies to avoid creating inventory, Maharashtra had been reeling under power crisis for want of coal. The state’s energy minister Nitin Raut has blamed CIL for lack of planning but CIL has been ramping up supplies and had tweaked its logistics to rush coal to the plants across the country, which had less than 4 days stock. The state has projected a shortfall between 3,000 MW and 3,500 MW, with peak demand reaching 18,000 MW and said, it has been purchasing spot power at Rs 20 a unit, forking out Rs 250 crore.

While CIL didn’t want to comment anything on the letters between Mahagenco and WCL, it said supplies to the power sector have already touched 1.62 MT a day for the past two days with overall offtake rising to 1.88 MT a day compared to the month’s average of 1.75MT. Productions will increase after Dussehra when workers return from holidays.

CIL, as on October 4, supplied 1.4 MT a day to the power sector and committed taking it up to 1.6 MT by October-end. But supplies increased to 1.51 MT by October 11 and has already touched 1.62 MT as of date.

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