“Because there is a daily deficit [difference between supply and use] now, so imported coal blending is being ordered to be increased to at least 6%,” a government official told ET. “The direction will be issued soon.”
Coal stock at domestic power plants was down to 18.4 million tonnes as of October 15. The stock has depleted by 3.3 mt in the first half of the month. Last year on October 15, the stock at domestic coal-based plants was 22.6 mt. A government official had earlier told ET stocks were expected to dip further to 20 mt but would start increasing from mid-October.
However, because of higher demand for electricity and lower-than-anticipated wind and hydro power generation in some states, coal-based units have had to generate more, according to another official.
July-September also usually sees lower coal production and dispatch owing to monsoon, but this August and September saw record-breaking peak electricity demand that led to a faster depletion of the fuel.
Stocks are now expected to start building up by October 20, another official said.