Coal India has decided to halve its offer under e-auction from 300 million tonnes during 2016-17 to around 150 million tonnes this year, which will increase supply to fuel-starved power plants, the Economic Times reported on August 7.
Last year, the company managed to sell barely 100 million tonnes of 300 million tonnes offered in e-auctions. "We have already sold some 73 million tonnes of coal under e-auction and would now offer additional 77 million tonnes during the rest of the year," said a senior Coal India executive.
Power sector is Coal India's priority customer and the monopoly has historically reduced supplies to other non-power sectors in case demand for coal from this sector rises. Before summer, power companies reduced their stocks considerably, trusting Coal India's ability to supply when needed.
However, Coal India was unable to supply coal when demand surged, leading to critical stock situation at many power plants. During the ongoing monsoon, heavy rains in several parts of the country disrupted supplies to power plants, which has declined from 20 days during the beginning of the year to about 12 days now.
Coal demand from power companies usually rises after monsoon. "This, however, does not mean power companies should reduce buying coal during this interim period for Coal India may not be in a position to supply enough coal when demand for the fuel rises and if there is a drastic fall in stocks at power plants," the senior executive expressed.
Coal India has readied an e-auction calendar that specifies how much coal would be offered subsidiary wise in different months under different modes of e-auction and different modes of transport to power and non-power companies.
"Consumers from both power and non-power sectors were asking for an e-auction calendar because they wanted to schedule their generation as well as production in advance. Now that we have made public the quantum of coal that would be offered under e-auction, power companies that also depend on e-auction would be able to plan their generation schedule better," he said.
(Writing by Becky Du Editing by Harry Huo)
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