Centre to ask states and discoms to clear their dues to Coal India: Power minister RK Singh

Published on Oct 26, 2021 12:01 AM IST

The large outstanding is making it difficult for the state-owned miner to pay for freight and other related expenses, Singh said

Power minister RK Singh said the Centre is going to ask all states and power distribution companies (discoms) to clear their dues to Coal India, which stands at a staggering <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>16,000 crore. (HT Archive)
Power minister RK Singh said the Centre is going to ask all states and power distribution companies (discoms) to clear their dues to Coal India, which stands at a staggering 16,000 crore. (HT Archive)
By, New Delhi

The central government is going to ask all states and power distribution companies to clear their dues to Coal India, which stands at a staggering 16,000 crore, power minister RK Singh said on Monday.

“States should understand that electricity is not free,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of an event in the national capital. “Besides, central power generating companies (gencos) also have outstanding dues to Coal India. This is because states and discoms (distribution companies) do not pay the central gencos on time. The dues of all central gencos have spiralled up to 75,000 crore so far.”

The large outstanding is making it difficult for the state-owned miner to pay for freight and other related expenses, Singh said. “So, we are going to write to all states now, asking them to clear their dues,” the power minister said.

A few states had behaved “irresponsibly” during the recent coal inventory crisis at power utilities, Singh said, accusing them of raising false alarm on outages.

“There was this one state which behaved very irresponsibly. It later turned out that they had missed renewing their agreement with GAIL (government-owned natural gas distributor) because of which the company said it would snap gas supply to its power plant,” minister Singh said. “This then triggered one of the discoms in the city to send alerts to its consumers. Then the chief minister and the state’s power minister started creating panic too, when it was the state government that failed to renew the gas supply on time. They should pull up the officials involved in this lapse.”

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and state power minister Satyendar Jain had earlierwarned of power outages. Kejriwal had asked the central government to intervene in the matter.

The availability of coal has improved over the past one week, with total inventory at thermal power plants in the country at 8.1 million tonnes of coal on Monday, the power minister said.

“The situation will only improve from here on. Thermal power plants will continue to get coal stocks on priority until the situation stabilises further,” Singh said.

Forty nine coal-fired plants that are located away from coal mines had less than fours days of coal stock on October 24, down from 62 plants a week ago, Central Electricity Authority data showed.

“The weather has helped as the power demand has remained low over the past one week,” a power ministry official said on condition of anonymity. “On Sunday, India had a shortage of 505 MW, with peak demand touching 154,437MW, of which 153,932 MW was met. The shortfall is usual, which often accounts for transmission and distribution losses, apart from local faults and scheduled maintenance.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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