As per the data available with the power ministry's advisory wing, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), of the 30 power stations that produce 26,320 mega-watt (mw) of power, 25 of them have coal stocks that can potentially last for only 4 days. Of the 25 power stations, five are from National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) - in Delhi (Badarpur), Uttar Pradesh (Dadri and Unchahar), Andhra Pradesh (Simadhari), Bihar (Kahalgaon).
A senior power ministry official has been quoted as saying, “Any sudden disruption in coal supplies can affect power availability in a big way.” Against the typical requirement of 15-20 days of coal stocks, 30 power plants with a total capacity of 26,320 mw are at a critical level with less than 7 days of coal and out of these 25 plants with a capacity of over 21,000 mw have less than 4 days of stocks.
Data from the CEA has revealed that four plants especially have no coal stocks left and are relying on day-to-day supplies of coal. The Power Ministry and NTPC officials, however, taking matters into perspective said that "this is not anything unusual and there is no need to panic."
A senior power ministry official has been quoted as saying, “The situation is certainly alarming as any disruption in the movement of coal - either due to rain or for instance the tsunami alert which was announced on Wednesday - could make power plants run dry, thereby affecting power production."
An NTPC official added, "What if there is a repeat of last year-like situation when floods as well as labour unrest affected movement of coal and choked supplies at most power stations. We are certainly in for a trouble."
2011 saw more than 50% of India's thermal power plants struggling to get adequate coal supplies. The NTPC official further said, “The thermal plants had to suffer for adequate fuel supply for more than a month due to heavy rainfall, Telangana agitation and labour unrest."