India's federal power ministry allows power companies to import as much as 30% of the country's coal requirement throughout the fiscal until March 2023 as part of a drive to ease its supply shortage.
The ministry had asked state and private utilities to import 10% of its total requirement, or about 38 million tonnes, to blend with domestic coal. Half of the volume should be secured by end-June.
The power ministry on May 18 threatened it would cut domestic supply to state-run utilities by 5% if they don't import coal for blending by June 15, as their import progress was "not satisfactory".
"Not much blending has taken place in the months of April and May," it noted, and said plants that have not yet started blending must ensure they use a 15% blend of coal until October and a 10% blend from November until March 2023.
The coal shortage in India has led to an electricity crisis in many parts of the country, which forced the country to give up the try of reducing coal import dependence. However, most state-run utilities are debt-ridden and the rising global coal prices added to their cost burden.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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