India is struggling to transport enough coal to ramp up coal stockpiles to a reasonable level at power plants, although the rail authorities canceled part of passenger trains to support the fuel delivery.
Coal inventories were only just eight days' worth of consumption at present, about half of that over the same period last year.
Coal stocks have been persistently low at seven to nine days since August 2021 despite a government requirement to increase output and distribution. Normally, coal stockpiles increase over winter when lower temperatures reduce electricity demand.
The blistering heat since April exacerbated the inventory woe, pushing power plants to take on rolling power cuts. At present, power producers' coal inventories are at the pre-summer lowest for nine years, which will constrain generation and result in blackouts.
The government has ordered miens and the railway network to prioritize supply to power generators, which increased 39 million tonnes (18%) in the first four months of this year, but the total number of coal trains dispatched every day in April was no higher than over the same month last year.
The government asked the rail network to arrange 336 trains per day in April, but only 276 was materialized, almost unchanged from the year-ago level, the coal ministry data showed.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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