Captive power producers send SoS to govt over coal supplies

New Delhi, Dec 6 (Bureau) Noting that coal supplies to captive power plants have plummeted to 40-50 per cent of the requirement, industry body Indian Captive Power Producers Association (ICPPA) on Monday said that aluminium sector is among the worst-affected due to the crisis and if allowed to aggravate it could put Rs 1.4 lakh crores of investment at risk. The industry body further said that the continued shortage of raw materials to key industries would lead to an increase in aluminium import and loss of export earnings to the tune of Rs 70,000 crores.

“Keeping the above in mind, the Indian Captive Power Producers Association has requested the ministry’s (Ministry of Power) immediate intervention for normalising 100 pc coal rakes supplies to CPP (captive power plants) industry and help them to partner the economic development of the nation,” the association said in a press note. The ICPPA said that in the last few months, the supplies meant for CPPs and industries have been either stopped or significantly curtailed for diversion of these to the power sector, which has led to a perilous situation for other coal-based power generators (CPP), adversely impacting their industrial operations. “The decision of coal diversion left CPP-dependent industry with no time to devise mitigation plans for sustainable operations, forcing CPPs to curtail generation or come to a standstill. On an average, captive power plant-based industries are getting less than 50 pc of the coal against secured linkages and CIL (Coal India) auctions.

Importantly, curtailment to CPP is continuing despite power sector having come out of the coal crisis,” it said. The association has claimed that any power outage in aluminium plants will lead to ‘catastrophic impact and complete shutdown’ which will take minimum 12 months of recovery, resulting in job loss of more than eight lakh people. The ICPPA further said that banks will have debt exposure of over Rs 1 lakh crores and additional national forex loss of Rs 90,000 crores. The industry body noted that aluminium production is a 24×7, 365 days continuous process industry which is highly power intensive. “To meet stringent and continuous power demand the industry has set up their in-house captive power plant of 9,400 MW (9.4 GW i.e., 34 pc of thermal CPP capacity of the country) with an investment of Rs 50,000 crores. The industry can only meet its power requirement through CPPs for which it requires 1.5 lakh tonnes of domestic coal daily (55 million tonnes every year). To meet the extensive coal demand, the industry has set up plants in the vicinity of coal bearing areas, with power plants designed to operate on domestic coal,” the ICPPA said. The industry body had recently given representations to Ministry of Coal, Railways and Power seeking urgent support for normalising the coal supplies to CPP-based industries.