State-run power generating companies of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Rajashthan and Madhya Pradesh owe Rs 6,477.5 crore to Coal India Ltd amid the country grappling with coal shortages.
At present, the country is witnessing a power crisis on account of coal shortages.
While Maharashtra State Power Generation Company owes a maximum Rs 2,608.07 crore to Coal India (CIL), West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL) has to pay Rs 1,066.40 crore to the PSU, according to sources.
Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd -- a government of Jharkhand undertaking -- owes coal dues of Rs 1,018.22 crore to CIL, followed by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (Rs 823.92 crore), Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Company (Rs 531.42 crore) and Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (Rs 429.47 crore), they added.
According to the sources, although the dues pertaining to the state power generating companies of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal are very high, CIL never regulated supply to these gencos and made adequate supply as per the sub-group plan and availability of rakes.
WBPDCL has its own captive blocks. The production from its captive block is sufficient to meet the requirement of their end-use plants as per communication received from the Coal Controller Organisation.
Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) supplies coal to various thermal power plants like TSGENCO, APGENCO, NTPC, KPCL, and MAHAGECO as well as other customers like steel, pharma and cement.
SCCL is supplying coal as per the fuel supply agreement (FSA)/memorandum of understanding (MOU) concluded with state and central gencos.
Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO) owes Rs 764.70 crore to SCCL followed by Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) Rs 514.14 crore, NTPC Tamil Nadu Energy Company Ltd (NTECL) Rs 59.19 crore and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd Rs 32.79 crore, the sources said.
On April 24, Coal Secretary AK Jain said that the current power crisis is mainly on account of the sharp decline in electricity generation from different fuel sources and not due to the non-availability of domestic coal.
Jain had attributed the low coal stocks at power plants to several factors such as heightened power demand due to the boom in the economy post-COVID-19, the early arrival of summer, a rise in the price of gas and imported coal and a sharp fall in electricity generation by coastal thermal power plants.
"It is not a coal crisis but a power demand-supply mismatch... The power demand has registered an upswing as the economy has bounced back, summers have arrived early and the price of gas and imported coal have shot up sharply," Jain had explained.
He had said that a slew of measures is already underway to enhance the total power supply in the country. The gas-based power generation, which has fallen drastically in the country, has aggravated the crisis.
"Some of the thermal power plants in India were built along the coast so that imported coal could be used, brought from nearby countries like Indonesia... But with the sharp rise in the price of imported coal they have reduced the imports," Jain had said.
The coastal thermal power plants are now generating around half of their capacity because of the sharp rise in the prices of imported coal. This has resulted in a gap between the demand and supply of electricity.
The secretary had further said that the states located in the South and West have been dependent on imported coal. And when domestic coal is dispatched through wagons/ rakes to the domestic coal-based plants in these States to make up for the loss in imported coal generation, the turnaround time of rakes is more than 10 days, which creates rake availability issues for other plants.
Since last year, the railways has loaded more coal than ever, even by curtailing rake supply to other sectors to meet the enhanced demand of the power sector. There was good loading of rakes in the month of March.
Since Coal India is a government company, it is expected that the PSU will bridge the gap between the demand and supply of fuel by providing additional coal. Last year, around 18 per cent more coal was supplied by CIL to the power sector, as there was a fuel stock of 100 million tonnes.