India asks regulators to allow utilities to import up to 30% of their coal needs

India has asked power companies to import 10% of its total requirement, or about 38 million tonnes, to be mixed with local coal, as demand exceeds supply, adding that shipments of 19 million tonnes must be secured before the end of June.

However, in a May 18 letter to the Secretary of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), a Federal Ministry of Energy official, citing the “public interest” provisions of the Indian Electricity Act, said that it was “importantly” that electricity producers were allowed to use more imported coal. .

The demand to allow more coal imports reflects the severity of the national shortage, which has caused the country’s worst power outage in more than six years, as a heatwave blankets much of South Asia.

“In the public interest, CERC is requested to immediately grant a permit to mix imported coal of up to 30%, in accordance with the Decree of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, without consulting the beneficiaries until March 31,” the letter reads.

It was not immediately clear whether the beneficiaries meant electricity distribution companies or end consumers. The electricity ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An electricity ministry official said CERC had refused permits to import some state-run utilities because the quantities could potentially violate rules that prohibit producers from mixing imported coal beyond a certain level without beneficiary approval.

“There is an urgent need to conserve domestic coal in order to build a reasonable stock of coal at power stations ahead of the monsoon season,” the official said in the letter, adding that stockpiles at power stations were running out at an “alarming” rate.

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