Coal India to increase supply to non-power sectors

Coal India Limited (CIL) is gearing up to scale up its supply to the non-power sector as the state-run company has managed to create “sufficient buffer stock”, providing these sectors with much relief after they have struggled with shortage of the fuel.

CIL is currently supplying around 3.4 lakh tonnes of  coal per day to non-power sector (NPS), which has been the average supply to this segment. Now, CIL has over 37 million tonnes (MT) of coal at its pitheads and therefore, it is considering increasing supply to consumers other than power companies, the miner said in a statement.

Industry bodies representing fertiliser, aluminium, textile, sponge iron and captive power producers, among others, had reportedly made a representation to the prime minister seeking relief from the coal shortage they were facing. CIL said that despite prioritization of coal supply to the power sector and facing other challenges, the company supplied 101.7 MT till January in FY22, which accounts for 97% of the same period last year’s quantity to non-power sector customers.

CIL’s dispatch to non-power sector in April-January in FY22 stood at 101.7 MT, up 8.2 per cent from the corresponding period of a pre-pandemic period in FY20. In FY19, when CIL recorded the highest ever total coal dispatch since its inception, supply to the non-power sector grew by 11 per cent over 91.5 MT.

Typically, non-power sectors import around 170 MT of coal for blending with domestic coal. But in FY22, the spiraling international coal prices proved to be a hindrance for importing requisite quantities giving rise to scarcity of coal at their end. “FY22 has witnessed an unprecedented surge in power generation, the growth rate being the highest in a decade, necessitating the need to meet the power sector’s coal demand on a national priority. Riding on robust economic recovery, total coal-based power generation till January 2022 of the fiscal in progress grew by 11.2% on year-on-year comparison. Whereas domestic coal-based generation was up by 17% during this period. Bulk of the coal supply to the power sector was met by CIL on priority,” CIL said.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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