CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation would soon float a tender to import coal to meet Union Ministry of Power’s directive to increase coal blending to 10 per cent.
“We have already placed an order for importing 4.8 lakh tonnes of coal for this quarter. We are expecting delivery of the coal in a day or two. We will place an order to further import coal soon,” said a senior Tangedco official.
With the Power Ministry stipulating a 10 per cent blending of coal import, the official said that they have to import 16 lakh tonnes of coal to meet the 10 per cent blending norm. Tangedco has placed an order to import 4.8 lakh tonnes of coal at a cost of US$ 137 per tonne. In 2019, Tangedco procured 10 lakh tonnes of coal at US$ 47.72/tonne.
With the Centre writing to the state governments to import coal, the cost of the coal has gone up to US$ 170 per tonne, the official sources said. When asked whether procurement of the coal at a high price would impact the utility, the official said that the cost of power generation would go up to 25 paise per unit.
Thanks to widespread rain, Tangedco has increased the coal stock in its thermal power plants with the drop in the power demand. On May 18, all the four thermal power plants have a combined stock of 4.19 lakh tonnes while on April 18 it was 1.49 lakh tonnes. “Due to increase in the wind power generation, the thermal power plants were kept on standby to conserve coal stock,” sources said.
S Neelakantapillai, a retired Tangedco engineer and activist said that Tangedco has no option but to import coal to meet the increased power demand.
Union Ministry of Power on May 18 has warned the gencos if the order for import of coal was not placed for 10 per cent blending in their fuel demand by the end of this month, the blending benchmark would be increased to 15 per cent. The order pertains to all power units. It also said, if blending is not started by June 15, domestic allocation of the defaulter thermal power plants will be reduced by 5 per cent.