Coal supply dwindles, power generation hit | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Coal supply dwindles, power generation hit

Thanks to coal shortage after the provider's reducing supply, all three thermal-energy plants of Powercom have failed to meet the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) generation targets.

punjab Updated: Dec 04, 2013 19:58 IST
Vishal Rambani

Thanks to coal shortage after the provider's reducing supply, all three thermal-energy plants of Powercom have failed to meet the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) generation targets.


In spite of that, no action has come against coal-supplying company PANEM that failed to follow the agreement. At the start of foggy season when the delivery slows further, Punjab is left with less than 15 days of coal stock.

Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat and Rupnagar are the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) plants that failed to meet the CEA targets for November.

How it came to this

Of the 14 units at the three sites, only seven were running up to the middle of that month, which built up some coal stock but after the shutting of Tata's Mundra plant on November 16 because of fire, the surplus was consumed by all thermal-energy units except the 210-megawatt component 1 at Rupnagar and the 110-MW module 4 at Bathinda that were fired up.

Company let off

PANEM, which in previous years had been supplying more coal than the approved plan; and in the year 2012-13 has reduced the delivery to below the requirement, remains major culprit. Against an average of 150 rakes a month during in previous years, it sent in only 80 (28 to Ropar, 37 to Lehra Mohabbat, and 15 to Bathinda) in November.

"PSPCL continues to purchase costly electricity because coal shortage has shut its units, while there is no action against PANEM for the short supply of coal," said a state electricity engineer (on the condition of anonymity to avoid official backlash).

Action that wasn't taken

Under coal purchase agreement (CPA), the company has to maintain minimum stock at the supplier end and delivery points (at plants) and, in the event of shortfall, the PSPCL can claim damages and terminate the contract.

Powercom has taken none of the two actions.

The source

The PSPCL, formerly Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), was allocated the Pachwara coal block in Jharkhand's Pakur district. PANEM, a joint venture of the PSPCL and EMTA Coal of Kolkata, operates the mine since 2006 and meets 60% of Punjab's coal requirement for the three electricity plants.

In spite of many attempts, Powercom's chairman and managing director KD Chaudhri could not be contacted but an official dealing with the coal issue said the management had raised the matter with PANEM.

For settling the price issues, the PSPCL has invoked the arbitration process. "We hope that after the Chhattisgarh elections, the coal supply will normalise," the officer said, adding that the problem was serious but under control.

Power generation (million units) in November

Plant CEA target Actual Percentage achieved Plant load factor
Bathinda 272 120 44 37 %
Lehra 604 495 82 75 %
Ropar 685 550 80 61 %
Total 1561 1 165 75 64 %