NEW DELHI: India has asked its federal power regulator to allow power generators to import up to 30% of the country’s coal demand by March next year, according to a letter from Reuters.
India asked utilities to mix 10% of its total requirement, or about 38 million tonnes, with local coal because demand exceeded supply, adding that it needed to ensure 19 million tonnes by the end of June.
However, in a May 18 letter to the secretary of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), citing a “public interest” provision in India’s power law, a federal power ministry official said it allowed “mandatory” power generators to be used for further imports. Coal
The demand for more imported coal reflects the severity of the internal deficit, which has cut off the country’s worst power outage in more than six years due to heatwaves across much of South Asia.
“In the public interest, CERC is hereby instructed to allow up to 30% higher blending of imported coal with the decision of the Ministry of Power without consulting the beneficiaries till March 31,” the letter said. .
It was not immediately clear whether the beneficiaries meant the power distribution company or the end-consumers. The power ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The power ministry official said the CERC had denied permission to import some state government-run utilities as the quantity could potentially violate the rules which prevented the generator from mixing imported coal beyond a certain amount without the consent of the beneficiaries.
“There is an urgent need to store internal coal to generate reasonable coal reserves at the power plant before the monsoon,” the official said in a letter, adding that power plant inventories were declining at an “alarming” rate. (Reporting by Sudarshan Vardhan; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)