Coal India’s stocks below last year’s level, but miner confident supplies will be smooth

PSU coal miner Coal India (CIL) is likely to open FY23 with a pithead stock of 60 million tonnes (mt) as against 99 mt in the last fiscal year. Despite such large pithead stocks at the opening of the last fiscal, the country had to face a power crisis. The miner had to despatch coal on an emergency basis to the power plants and cut down on its non-core and e-auction supplies.

But CIL is confident that coal shortage won’t lead to power cuts in the current fiscal. The average stockpile at the power plants is expected to rise to around 25 mt by the close of the fiscsal and an additional 4.5 mt would be available at goods sheds, washeries, and ports.

Power houses without power purchase agreements (PPA), already eligible for participation under a separate auction window called SHAKTI B (viii-a), would be able to get the supplies of coal from that window, a CIL executive said, adding the company was focused on meeting its despatch commitment to the country’s power stations as the supply numbers indicate.

Indigenous coal stock at power houses stood at 23.7 mt as of March 24, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA)-monitored figures.

In fact, after a supply crunch to the power sector, when coal stocks were at an average of 10.37 mt in September and 8.07 mt in October last year, CIL offered a total of an additional 11.2 mt of coal in two rounds on an ‘as is where is’ basis to boost coal stocks at the generating units. The offer was made to 12 central and state gencos from CIL’s highly-stocked mines through a road-cum-rail mode.

With an average 25 mt of stock, power plants would have a little above 12 days stock, much below the mandated 17 days and 26 days by the fiscal end. The state-owned coal miner, till March 24 of the ongoing fiscal, has supplied an all time high of 528 mt of coal to the country’s power utilities. This is 98.5% of the prorated demand of 536 mt projected by the power ministry and the CEA.

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