Nalco plunges into crisis due to coal shortage

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 15, 2012 04:50 hrs

Severe coal shortage has forced the authorities of National Alumunium company (Nalco) to shut down two 120 MW units of its captive power plant (CPP), hitting the aluminium output in the process. Nalco's CPP has 10 units of 120 Mw each.

Faced with sharp drop of power generation in its captive power plant, Nalco officials are regulating power supply to its smelter plant here. This led to a daily aluminium output loss of loss with the smelter now producing about 1,150 tonnes per day against the normal average of 1,250 tonnes.

Given the crisis situation, Nalco authorities are importing about 150 to 200 Mw of power from Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco) to meet the exigencies.

"As against the linkage demand of 11,200 tonne of coal per day in the monsoon season, we have been getting an average of 7,000 tonne per day since the first of the current month leading to a cumulative deficit of about 52,000 tonne of coal so far. This shortfall has plunged the power plant into crisis," said Pradipta Ranjan Ray Chaudhury, executive director, smelter and power plant, Nalco here.

"Though the company has a stock of imported coal to the tune of more than one lakh tonne, it cannot use it as these coal are used after blended with the coal supplied from the linked mines of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL). So I was forced to shut down two out of normally running eight units for since last two days. Instead of production of 960 Mw of power from eight units, the CPP is now generation 600 Mw only," Ray Chaudhury said.

He admitted regulation of power supply to the smelter plant. Out of 960 aluminium making pots in the smelter, currently 858 pots are in operation. Nalco has a total ten 120 Mw units, but operates eight units for its need keeping other two in standby mode. Commenting on the situation, AK Singh, director, MCL said, this has occurred due to sharp fall in the production of coal in feeding Bharatpur coalmine at Talcher as it cannot expand due to want of forest clearance. It may be noted that earlier Nalco blamed low supply of coal for its dip in profit.

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