NTPC in dilemma as MCl refuses additional coal supply

National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), which had sought the state government intervention to direct Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) for additional coal supply by rail to its Talcher power station, received a major jolt as the Coal India subsidiary has declined to give any commitment. “It is requested that the officials of TTPS (Talcher Thermal Power Station) may be advised to make arrangement for lifting coal through belt mode and will be supplemented through rail mode to the extent possible,” said A K Tiwari, director (production), MCL to the state energy department.

Between April and October, coal supplies to TTPS were 15.91 lakh tonne against pro-rata Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) quantity of 13.88 lakh tonne. Since the power producer has already received excess coal, no guarantee can be given on additional coal supply, the miner justified. MCL has suggested that having its factory near the coal mines, NTPC plant must make efforts to get maximum coal through belt system and not via rail which is both time consuming and uncertain.

The Talcher plant of NTPC has an installed capacity of 460 Mw, which consisted of two 110 Mw units and four units each with a capacity of 60 Mw. The entire power generated at this plant is dedicated for supply within Odisha. The plant requires 9,500 tonne coal everyday and also needs to build up stock of about 250,000 tonne coal for summer and rainy season, when coal output drops. “We currently have about 40,000 tonne stocks with us, which will only last for just five days. If there is any supply disruption between December and March for any reason, we will have no option but to curb output,” said Himachal Panda, general manager, TTPS. “The situation will be worse in the summer and rainy season, if we do not get two coal rakes per day from MCL apart from belt supplies,” he added.

The power generator had sought the government intervention as coal supplies by rail was 13 rakes in August and just six rakes in September, against NTPC’s demand of 45 to 60 rakes per month. Even though the supply situation improved in November to 30 rakes, the TTPS official said in absence of commitment from MCL, it would be difficult to guarantee desired power generation for the state.

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