India's 72 coal-based power projects have less than three days of stocks, as of October 1. 104 coal-based plants with 1.26 lakh megawatt capacity had a stock of fewer than seven days, as of September 30. 50 plants have coal stocks ranging from 4-10 days and 13 projects have fuel stocks to sustain electricity generation for more than 10 days, according to the power ministry.
The surge in the revival of the economy after the second COVID-19 wave has led to an unprecedented increase in demand and consumption of electricity. Ministries of coal, power and railways are planning on ways to increase daily dispatches. Power plants will be given coal as per the actual requirement.
Plants will have a provision of disincentives for not maintaining mandatory coal stocks. Those without mandatory coal stocks will be in the lower order of priority for coal dispatch. Generation companies with pending coal dues will be in the lowest order of dispatch priority. Coal consumption by thermal power plants is likely to exceed 700 metric tonne in FY2021-22. India's overall coal requirement is expected to increase to 1,123 mt by 2023.