Instructions to run imported coal based power plants at full capacity by June 2024

Power generation: Assembly elections are due in five states in the coming days and Lok Sabha elections in 2024. When the voting for the Lok Sabha elections is going on, the heat will be at its peak. In such a situation, the central government has taken a big decision to maintain uninterrupted power supply in the country till the elections. In view of increasing power demand and dwindling domestic coal supply, the government has directed imported coal-fired thermal power plants to continue producing at full capacity till June 30, 2024.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Energy, the government has mandated the import coal-fired thermal power plants to operate at full capacity by June 30, 2024, i.e. by the end of the Lok Sabha. The demand for electricity in the country is continuously increasing but the central government has taken this major decision after the reduction in domestic coal supply for electricity generated from thermal power plants. Earlier, the government had extended its directive to run imported coal-fired power plants at full capacity till October 31, 2023.

In March 2023, for the first time, the government had directed imported coal-fired power plants to produce at full capacity under Section 11 of the Electricity Act. Under this section, the Government may, in exceptional circumstances, direct the generating company to operate and maintain any generating plant in accordance with its instructions. In its notification, the Ministry of Power said that after consultation with the Central Electricity Authority, the government has decided to extend the period of directives under Section 11 to 30 June 2024 for producers based on imported coal.

The Ministry of Power has said that in view of the increasing demand for electricity, inadequate supply of domestic coal and low availability of hydropower generation, it is imperative that adequate power be made available from imported coal-based generation plants. The government notification has been sent to all imported coal based plants including Adani Power Mundra, Essar Power Gujarat, JSW Ratnagiri and Tata Trombay.

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