18 power plants face serious coal shortage: Govt

New Delhi: As many as 18 power plants in the country are faced with critical level of coal shortage, Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal informed the Rajya Sabha today.

Of the 89 thermal power projects being monitored, 34 had fuel (coal) stock less than seven days and 25 of these had less than four days stock, he said during Question Hour.

Stating the situation has improved subsequently, he said there are "only 18 super critical" power plants now. "None of the power utilities in the country has reported any of their thermal power stations in stuck for want of coal, although, inadequate availability of coal vis-a-vis requirement has affected electricity generation in some of the power plants," he said.

Power utilities, he said, have reported a generation loss of 8.7 billion units in 2011-12 (up to February, 2012) due to shortage of coal.

Listing steps being taken by the government to mitigate shortage of coal for thermal power plants in the country, he said Coal India is being asked to enhance coal production while power utilities have been advised to import coal to bridge domestic supply deficit.

As many as 11 plants of state-owned NTPC lost 7.8 billion units because of shortage of coal during current fiscal. Other utilities that lost on generation of electricity included ones in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, he added.