CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) is making frantic efforts to increase coal stock to ensure uninterrupted power generation at thermal plants.
According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), out of the 89 thermal power stations in the country, 32 have less than four-day stock and 15 plants less than seven days’ requirement. Of this, Ennore had just a day’s stock, Mettur four, North Chennai three and Tuticorin two days as on October 26. The reason for less stock is ‘less receipt’, the CEA said.
Asked about the present status and doomsday predictions in a section of the media that power generation may be hit in thermal plants due to low levels of coal stock, a top official said the inventory continued to be around four days for the past many years.
“It is nothing new. Before 2005, we used to even have stocks for well over a month. With the huge increase in demand, all the states - not just TN - have difficulties in getting their entitlements,” he pointed out.
The floods in Odisha coalfields and the Telangana stir intensified the coal woes as TN’s share was partly diverted to Andhra Pradesh to prevent a blackout in that State. “Now, the situation has improved. We are in constant touch with the Central coal and power authorities besides the coal suppliers (Mahanadhi and Eastern Coal). We are confident that we will have seven days’ stock at the very least though we plan for 10-day inventory,” the official said.
Also, contracts with Indonesian suppliers have been firmed up till March next. “Now, we get 2.6 lakh tons a month. Asked if it was not possible to have more than 10-day stocks, the official said: “It is not prudent to increase imports as most of our units are designed for low calorific coal. The [grim] national coal scenario precludes chances for having 15-20 day stock. Hypothetically, if we do it, fresh arrivals will be diverted to states that have low inventory.”