The state's four major thermal power plants namely Ennore, North Chennai, Tuticorin and Mettur have the capacity to generate 2970 MW, for which the plants need 47,800 tonnes of coal per day to operate. With coal stocks only enough to tide them over for four days, as against the mandatory 30 days, plants are heading towards a critical state. The four plants require 16 million tonnes of coal per annum (MTPA) for which TNEB imports 13.5 MTPA from Coal India.
To meet the demand, TNEB has pinned its hopes on a shipment of 1.10 lakh tonnes of coal from Indonesia which is waiting to berth at the Tuticorin port for unloading, and another shipment of 45,000 tonnes of coal from Talcher in Orissa, which is expected to reach in a day.
A senior TNEB official said that currently there's no problem in power production at the four power plants and so far the TNEB has not lost a single unit due to coal shortage. The present situation of coal shortage has developed due to the floods in the Talcher coalfields and workers strike at the Singareni coal mine in support of the Telangana general strike in demand of separate state for Telangana.