Coal India to import fuel for the first time since 2015
Coal India, the government-owned entity, which is also the world’s largest coal miner, will import the fuel for the first time in years amid impending power cuts.
A letter from the Union Power Ministry seen by Reuters stressed the urgency of importing the fuel. The company last borrowed coal in 2015. However, the crisis resurfaced in April when India suffered its worst power cuts in six years.
The ministry released the letter on Saturday which read: “Coal India would import coal for blending on a government-to-government (G2G) basis and supply…to state-owned and independent power producers (IPP) thermal power stations ”
It was sent to all public services and senior officials, including the secretary of Coal and the chairman of Coal India. Amid rising electricity demand, India is expected to face a severe fuel shortage in the third quarter of 2022.
The decision to import coal was taken after consultation with all the states, most of which suggested the Department of Energy to go ahead with the centralized supply plan under Coal India. Earlier this year, utilities were told to increase coal imports to support local coal growth. He also warned of a shortage if power plants did not build up coal stocks through imports.
“Tenders being processed by state producers and IPPs for the import of coal for blending may be suspended pending price discovery by Coal India via the G2G route, in order to source coal from less at possible tariffs,” the ministry said.
However, in its Saturday letter, the Department of Energy asked states to suspend ongoing tenders. Coal stocks have fallen sharply in recent years.