Coal In­dia to Halve Of­fer Un­der E-Auc­tion

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - De­b­joy.Sen­gupta@ times­

Kolkata: Coal In­dia has de­cided to halve its of­fer un­der e-auc­tion from 300 mil­lion tonnes dur­ing 2016-17 to around 150 mil­lion tonnes this year, which will in­crease sup­ply to fuel-starved power plants.

Last year, the com­pany man­aged to sell barely100 mil­lion tonnes of 300 mil­lion tonnes of­fered in e-auc­tions. “We have al­ready sold some 73 mil­lion tonnes of coal un­der e-auc­tion and would now of­fer ad­di­tional 77 mil­lion tonnes dur­ing the rest of the year,” said a se­nior Coal In­dia ex­ec­u­tive.

Power sec­tor is Coal In­dia’s pri­or­ity cus­tomer and the mo­nop­oly has his­tor­i­cally re­duced sup­plies to other non-power sec­tors in case de­mand for coal from this sec­tor rises. Be­fore sum­mer, power com­pa­nies re­duced their stocks con­sid­er­ably, trust­ing Coal In­dia’s abil­ity to sup­ply when needed.

How­ever, Coal In­dia was un­able to sup­ply coal when de­mand surged, lead­ing to crit­i­cal stock sit­u­a­tion at many power plants. Dur­ing the on­go­ing mon­soon, heavy rains in sev­eral parts of the coun­try dis­rupted sup­plies to power plants, which has de­clined from 20 days dur­ing the be­gin­ning of the year to about 12 days now. Coal de­mand from power com­pa­nies usu­ally rises af­ter mon­soon. “This, how­ever, does not mean power com­pa­nies should re­duce buy­ing coal dur­ing this in­terim pe­riod for Coal In­dia may not be in a po­si­tion to sup­ply enough coal when de­mand for the fuel rises and if there is a dras­tic fall in stocks at power plants,” the se­nior ex­ec­u­tive told ET.

Coal In­dia has read­ied an e-auc­tion cal­en­dar that spec­i­fies how much coal would be of­fered sub­sidiary wise in dif­fer­ent months un­der dif­fer­ent modes of e-auc­tion and dif­fer­ent modes of trans­port to power and non-power com­pa­nies. “Con­sumers from both power and non-power sec­tors were ask­ing for an e-auc­tion cal­en­dar be­cause they wanted to sched­ule their gen­er­a­tion as well as pro­duc­tion in ad­vance. Now that we have made pub­lic the quan­tum of coal that would be of­fered un­der e-auc­tion, power com­pa­nies that also de­pend on e-auc­tion would be able to plan their gen­er­a­tion sched­ule bet­ter,” he said.

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