Record coal supply has helped power plants to replenish dwindling stockpile even after pumping up generation as electricity demand spiked 14 per cent during the October festive season and continued to grow apace at 5.5 per cent in November.
Government data showed coal supplies at a three-month high in December, rising steadily since September when disruptions caused by rains had resulted in stockpiles at a large number of power plants diminishing to alarmingly low levels. But improved coal supply since then has raised the average coal stock at power plants to more than 10 days in December.
The number of ‘super critical’ power plants, where fuel stocks are down to four days or less of operation, has dropped to a monthly average of nine in the first 10 days of December from 14 in November and 18 in October. Coal ministry officials said the alternatives were being examined to address pockets of problem, especially for plants located far from the coal mines.