Government allows coal swap between state-run, private companies

New Delhi: In a move to improve fuel availability and cut its transportation cost, the government on Wednesday allowed swapping of coal between public sector and private sector companies.

“Only today (Wednesday) I have approved the proposal. Henceforth, government and public sector companies can swap their coal with private companies also and I would like it to be across sectors,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said at an event here organised by state-run Power Grid Corp.

“We would be allowing all public and private companies to swap coal to achieve the next level of efficiency through rationalisation of coal linkages.

“To begin with we are working on power to power sector,” he said, adding that the guidelines, which were being framed, would be issued in the next 30 days.

“I would urge you,” Goyal told Power Ministry officials present “to talk to DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) or any other administrative ministries, or the coal ministry, if possible we could look at the next stage where we could allow swaps across consumers in the country”.

He also urged central transmission utility Power Grid, as well as state transmission companies, to unlock capital that has accrued over the years in transmission assets.

“I think it is time now for Power Grid to seriously look at moving out of becoming an asset holding company into a project management, implementing company. These assets which have accrued over the last 25 years, it’s time to look at at least halving the balance sheet so that it can unlock your capital,” Goyal said.

He asked ministry officials to look at some changes to the regulatory framework so that projects of Power Grid and other transmission companies “can move from a cost plus scenario to possibly an escalating formula or a fixed plus, or inflation linked formula”.