October 26th, 2011
Econintersect: Strikes, floods and general bad luck at coal mines have combined forcing coal fired power plants to reduce output under demand levels. Brownouts for two hours a day are common occurances throughout most of India. According to the Economic Times today (October 26):
Many plants, including units run by leading energy companies such as NTPC, Reliance Power, Sterlite and Damodar Valley Corp had coal stocks for less than seven days, a condition that the Central Electricity Authority says is "critical".
Latest CEA data shows that number power projects with critically low stocks of coal increased to 48 on Monday from 44 two weeks ago. Thirty plants had "supercritical" stock that would last less than four days. There are 89 coal based electricity generation stations in India that have a capacity of 86,000 mw.
NTPC's Singrauli, Mejia, Vindyachal and Damodar Valley's Kodarma projects and few other projects with about 9,000-mw had no coal stock as against a normative requirement of 15-20 days. On an average coal plants have stocks for barely seven days.
Most major industry has backup generators, but the economic effect of these brownouts cannot be positive. Senior Indian government officials are giving assurance that enough coal is currently being shipped from the mines - but electric industry sources are claiming the amounts being shipped are too low to rebuild stockpiles.
Sources: Reporters on the ground and Economic Times