Battling an energy crisis with several states fearing outages, the government said today that the shortage of coal was caused by heavy rain driving up international prices.
Imported coal power plants have either been shut for 15-20 days or have been producing very little, putting pressure on domestic coal, Union Power Minister Pralhad Joshi said,
“Due to rains, there was coal shortage, causing an increase in international prices – from Rs 60 per ton to Rs 190 per ton. Subsequently, imported coal power plants are either shut for 15-20 days or producing very little. This put pressure on domestic coal,” Mr Joshi told news agency ANI.
“We have continued our supply, even continued in the past despite dues. We are requesting them (states) to increase stock… There won’t be a coal shortage,” he assured.
Mr Joshi had earlier denied power failures due to a shortage of coal.
What is behind the current power crisis? According to the Power Ministry, the reasons are:
- Heavy rain in coal mine areas in September adversely affecting coal production as well as the transport of coal from mines.
- Steep rise in the price of imported coal, leading to sharply reduced power generation from imported coal-based power plants and more dependence on domestic coal.
- Failure to build adequate coal stocks before the onset of monsoon.
- There are also legacy issues of heavy dues of coal companies from certain states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
- A surge in the economy after the second wave of Covid led to a big increase in demand and consumption of electricity.