Power rate up Rs 7.5 per unit as coal shortage hit generation, say experts
Power prices at the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) touched a high of Rs 7.5 per unit last week, suggesting that power generation is still haunted by coal shortage at thermal plants, experts said. The highest price of power in day ahead market at IEX on Friday last was Rs 7.5 per unit or Kwh while the average rate was Rs 3.74 per unit. “The variation in the highest and average market clearing price in day ahead market on Friday clearly shows some demand and supply gap,” a power sector expert said. This is happening because merchant sellers are either getting expensive coal or short supplies, the expert said.
According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data, of the 112 thermal plants monitored by it, as many as 11 non-pithead plants had super critical stock situation on November 16, 2017. The super critical stock situation means that these plants had coal stocks for less than 4 days. Eleven coal based non-pithead power plants had critical coal stock situation meaning they had coal for less than a week on November 16, 2017. A day ahead of Diwali on October 18, 2017, Power Ministry had announced implementation of a detailed plan to ensure sufficient supply of coal to power plants to allay fears of electricity outages.
The ministry made announcement after in view of coal shortages at power plants. The spot power price had also touched a peak of over Rs 10 per unit last month. “A detailed plan has been agreed which would be implemented from October 18, 2017 and would ensure sufficient supply of coal to power plants,” a Power Ministry had said in a statement issued on October 18, 2017. Official data showed that coal dispatches from state-run miner CIL had risen by 18 per cent to around 33 million tonnes in October.