Mahagenco blames coal companies for poor supply

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jan 2018 09:04:25


Staff Reporter,

Barely 58 % coal supply has materialised, claims power utility

Turf war between coal and power utilities affecting State

The State power generating utility-Mahagenco has once again blamed the coal companies for inadequate supply of
cheap domestic coal and also blamed them for supplying poor quality coal.

According to Mahagenco, during 2017-18, from WCL coal realisation was 67.54% while from MCL it was 47.69% and from SECL it was barely 33.62%/. From SCCL it was 47.41% and thus as against the coal linkage of 32,469 million metric tonne the Mahagenco received only 19,127 mmt or barely 58.58 % making critical shortage of coal reserve with power plants.

The allegation was made in an affidavit filed before the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. The coal utilities promptly refuted the allegation and WCL claimed that it had supplied upto 91% of the contracted coal quantity to the state power utility and wondered as to why WCL was being unnecessarily dragged despite diligently supplying coal to thermal power stations of Mahagenco.

The Mahagenco affidavit also annexed a communication by Chief Secretary to Chairperson of Central Electricity Authority dated 21-09-2017 seeking permission to import coal in view of precarious coal supply situation due to which power situation in state is worsening. The Chief Secretary stated that power generation capacity of Mahagenco is 10,380 MW and Mahagenco has coal linkage of 56.529 MMTPA from Coal India and its subsidiaries like WCL, SECL, SCCL MCL etc. Due to less materialisation of domestic coal by CIL, thermal power plants at Maharashtra are receicing inadequate coal as compared to actual requirement and order placed.

The High Court was hearing a PIL filed by a vigilant citizen Anil Wadpalliwar who has consistently claimed that coal import was a big scam and its high cost was passed on to hapless consumers. The PIL also highlighted blame game between power and coal companies over supply of quality coal.

According to petitioner’s counsel Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar, cent per cent coal requirement of the state utility Mahagenco is not met with locally and WCL provides only around 60 per cent of the coal and remaining 40 per cent of the coal is imported by it. He also claimed that this bogus import has been investigated by the DRI and they have found these to be the only book entries.

Petitioners counsel launched a blistering attack against power and coal utilities and charged them with messing up this critical sector. The state is reeling under power outage due to monumental mismanagement of coal procurement, he claimed while apprehending that if urgent steps are not taken, the state may face unprecedented power crisis during summer months.

A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi sought to know exact details of actual coal supplied by CIL and its subsidiaries to Mahagenco during next date of hearing. The High Court asked Assistant Solicitor General of India Ulhas Aurangabadkar to procure information from Singreni Coal using his good offices and submit it before the court.

During last hearings, the High Court took a serious note of turf war between the coal and power utilities due to which power generation dipped to alarming level while directing the coal and power utilities to submit details about machinery available for monitoring transport and utilisation of coal by e-auction purchasers.

In response, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Ministry of Power had ruled out any need to import coal for augmenting power generation by public sector electricity generating units. But at the same time, the CEA confirmed the poor performance of Mahagenco and confirmed that its plant load factor (PLF) is merely 47%, a reason why Maharashtra often faces power crisis.

According to CEA and Ministry of Power, availability of domestic coal has improved in the country during past 2-3 years due to which import of coal required by power plants for blending with domestic coal has declined particularly during last two years.

Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar appeared for the petitioner. Senior Counsel K H Deshpande and Adv Rakesh Rathod (Mahagenco), Addl GP Deepak Thakre (State) Adv S C Mehadia (CIL-WCL), ASGO Ulhas Aurangabadkar and Adv Mugdha Chandurkar (Union of India), Adv S V Purohit (MERC) appeared for the respondents.