New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Private power producers Wednesday sought the government’s intervention in ensuring smooth fuel supply for their plants.
In a day-long exercise to apprise the government of various problems confronting them, chiefs of private power companies met the Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Planning Commission Member B.K.Chaturvedi. These included Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, Tata Sons’ vice chairman Cyrus Mistry, Jindal Steel and Power’s Naveen Jindal, Essar Group’s Prashant Ruia, and GMR’s G.M. Rao.
Chaturvedi is a member of the plan panel on the energy sector.
The company heads are expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later Wednesday evening.
The private power producers are struggling to get adequate fuel supplies for their new projects, as the public-sector producer Coal India does not have enough capacity at the moment.
Gautam Adani of the Adani Group and Lanco Infratech chairman Madhusudan Rao were also in the delegation that met policymakers.
“They (power producers) have a lot of issues, gas and coal related, power ministry. So, regarding these problems Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting the company heads of these private power companies in the evening,” Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters.
Rejecting private players’ proposal for pooling in of domestic and international coal prices that will be shared by all firms, Jaiswal said: “For thermal power production, coal is required. They (power companies) had suggested that the pooling of prices should be done and the burden would be shared by all the power producers, which is not possible.”
According to Jaiswal, the coal ministry would look at enhancing the minimum quantity that coal companies have to supply to plants. Under the current fuel supply agreement, the minimum threshold that coal companies have to adhere to is 50 percent of the total agreed quantity.
“One of their (power companies) problems was the signing of the FSA (fuel supply agreement). They had asked to increase it from 50 percent. We will talk to the power ministry and if they agree we may take it to 65-70 percent.”
If coal suppliers do not adhere to this minimum threshold, they can be penalised.
Earlier in a proposal, the power ministry had pushed for a guaranteed 90 percent of fuel supply for all thermal power projects which were commissioned or were to be commissioned between April, 2009, and March, 2012.
Fuel shortage due to stagnant domestic coal output, lower gas output and environmental clearances have held up some of India’s biggest power projects. India has a 12 percent power deficit in the peak hours.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said the companies will have to adhere to the current policy.
“Within my mandate to protect the environment, our policy will be to have consistent, transparent guidelines,” Natarajan told reporters.