India has set a coal import target for the end of June as electricity problems escalate.

The move, which marks the first time the world’s second-largest coal importer has announced an import deadline, could put pressure on global coal prices as utilities race to avoid a repeat of April’s power crisis.

If the deadline is met, imports made by states and private utilities over the next five months to mix with national coal will exceed the entity’s annual imports for at least six years.

An unrelenting heatwave pushed electricity demand to a record high in April, causing its worst electricity crisis in more than six years and forcing India to reverse its policy of cutting coal imports.

The federal government has asked state-owned utilities to import more than 22 million tonnes of coal and private power plants to import 15.94 million tonnes, the energy minister said in a letter reviewed by Reuters.

The energy minister has asked all utilities to ensure delivery of 50% of the amount allocated by June 30, 40% by the end of August and the remaining 10% by the end of October, according to a letter addressed to senior state officials. department of energy and director of private power generation.

State-run utilities have imported no more than 7.1 million tonnes for blending and private companies no more than 13.1 million tonnes since at least the year ending March 2017. Data prior to the year ending March 2017 are not available.

The Federal Electricity Minister did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Utilities are under no obligation to respect federal government guidelines, but two government officials who attended a meeting related to rising electricity demand said states had been warned of power cuts if recommended quantities were not imported.

State and private companies “must import” coal and “ensure a sustainable supply of electricity in individual states”, the letter said.

“To ensure the availability of a minimum stock of coal at power plants before the rainy season arrives, the coal import tender for blending needs to be completed before 31/5/2022,” said the Minister of Finance in his letter. April 28th.

Private companies including Adani Power, Tata Power, Reliance Power, Jindal Steel and Power, Torrent Power and Sembcorp have received import targets, according to the letter.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“All state-owned and independent power generation companies must submit weekly management information system reports by Friday to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and the Ministry of Energy on index placement at ports, arrivals and shipments. from coal imported at power plants”, the letter shows.

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