State-owned Coal India Ltd supplied 117.6 million tonne (MT) of coal to power utilities during July-September of the current fiscal, registering a growth of 12.3 percent. "Coal India Ltd (CIL) supplied 117.6 million tonne to power utilities during July- September 2021 quarter, the highest for Q2 of any year, posting 12.3 percent growth," the PSU said in a statement.
This is a volume jump of 13 MT compared to 104.7 MT in the same quarter last year. The growth is even higher at 17.2 percent when matched against 100.3 MT of COVID-free second quarter of FY'20.
CIL's total offtake shot up to 147.3 MT at the quarter ending September which is 9.7 percent more against the comparable quarter of last year when the offtake was 134.3 MT. "The company is responsive to the importance of improving coal stocks at thermal power stations. We are rallying our efforts to restore normalcy as early as possible by pushing additional quantities. The demand is far outstripping the supplies now," CIL Director Marketing S N Tiwary said.
In fact, during the first half of this financial year, CIL's offtake to the power sector at nearly 246 MT was the highest ever for this period so far but the demand from this sector was even higher as an outcome of a sudden spike in the coal-based generation to unprecedented levels. There was an additional supply burden of around 10 MT to 12 MT on CIL to cater to domestic coal-based thermal power plants (TPPs) due to curtailment of power generation by plants that source their coal from overseas, where the prices have skyrocketed and holding firm.
Generally, CIL builds up coal inventories at power utilities during the first quarter but COVID posed a hindrance to this, and extra stocking was not possible. Compounding to the woes, extended monsoon at coalfield areas interrupted production and supplies. Primarily, what precipitated the situation was the unforeseen escalation in the power generation from the second week of August and the insatiable appetite for coal, CIL said.
"Reasons aside, the company is fully seized of the imperative need to meet the power sector's demand. With the monsoon on the wane, increased production and availability of more coal is will help us stabilise stocks at power plants," the company said. Despite heavy rainfall, CIL produced close to 126 MT of coal during the second quarter of the current fiscal, another record high for the second quarter, posting 9.6 percent year-on-year growth. Last fiscal's second-quarter output was 115 MT.
CIL managed to liquidate a whopping 57 MT of its pithead stock during the first six months of the current fiscal with the bulk of it directed to power utilities. This is the highest ever stock reduction not only for any H1 but on yearly basis as well so far. Coal India accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal output.