Mulls clause to mandate participation in tariff-based bidding for power

The brouhaha over coal block allocations has goaded the government into correcting the policy imperfections that have long prevailed in India’s coal mining sector. It is planning a clause to make it mandatory for captive miners to take part in tariff-based bidding for power. A few miners have been selling power produced through coal from their captive mines in the open market to make profits. The coal ministry now plans to add the mandatory clause in captive miners’ allotment letters.

Up from global 7th in 2008 among 40 large generation firms, says Washington think tank NTPC contests charge of prime polluter

India’s state-owned NTPC Ltd is the world’s sixth-largest polluter among a total of 40 large power generating companies, according to the Centre for Global Development (CGD), a Washington-based think tank. Also, NTPC has moved up the list of highest carbon dioxide (CO2)-emitting companies globally from seventh position in 2004 to sixth now. The findings are part of CGD’s latest database on global carbon emissions, called Carbon Monitoring for Action (Carma).

The massive electricity grid failure earlier this week, that left a majority of India in darkness, has impacted the volumes of power generation companies.

The coal ministry has told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing alleged irregularities in coal block allocation, that no production had ever been reported from the 64 captive blocks that face allegation of illegal sales.

CBI is currently investigating into the allegation that coal produced from these blocks could have been illegally sold in the open market. The investigating agency initiated the inquiry based on a reference by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) after the principal opposition party,

The R-Infra-controlled discoms, which meet about 70% of Delhi?s power needs, expect 35% jump in turnover

Tuesday’s increase in Delhi’s retail power rates would allow BSES, the Reliance Infrastructure-owned electricity distributor here, to garner an additional Rs 2,500 crore as turnover this financial year (2012-13). Also, the company said, Delhi residents can expect no load-shedding for the rest of this summer, as the raise would save BSES from an acute financial mess.

The coal ministry would push for significant dilution of the provisions of Coal India Ltd (CIL)’s current fuel supply pacts with power companies in tomorrow’s meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“The ministry will propose lowering CIL’s supply commitment under new fuel supply agreements (FSAs) to 65 per cent of the contracted quantity for the first three years, 72 per cent for the fourth year and 80 per cent for the fifth year,” a senior official from the coal ministry told Business Standard. The proposal to increase the penalty level is aimed at compensating for this reduced commitment.

More than eight months after the government scrapped the controversial ‘no-go’ policy, which had banned mining in some areas, state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) is still struggling to operate its new projects located in the so-called no-go areas in the absence of a formal go-ahead from the environment ministry.

The delay is set to stem the miner’s efforts to meet new supply obligations, further aggravating the ongoing coal crisis in the country. “Since September last year, only two of our new mining projects have received clearance and, that too, outside of the no-go list.

The negligible penalty for supply shortfall set by state-owned Coal India (CIL) as a condition for committing supply to fuel-starved power plants is not the only reason why power companies have rejected the new model supply agreement. This has brought the government’s efforts to resolve the ongoing coal crisis back to square one.

A detailed analysis of the contentious clauses in the new fuel supply agreements (FSAs) reveal what the power companies are calling a “heavy tilt” in favour of the miner.

A parliamentary panel has pulled up the coal ministry for cancelling allocations to power companies without trying to address the issues that led to delays in developing coal blocks. The ministry had been acting like a big brother, trying to intimidate power companies for reasons beyond their control, the panel noted.

“Mere de-allocation of a block is not a solution, owing to the possibility of new allottees finding it difficult to develop these,” the parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy, headed by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, said in its report on the availability of coal and gas for the power sector.

The government plans to empower the regulator being set up for the coal sector with the authority to decide pricing. The proposal, if implemented, would deprive state-owned Coal India (CIL) the freedom it currently enjoys in fixing and revising prices of its output.

“The regulator’s primary function would be to set the prices of raw coal. A note on the Coal regulatory Authority Bill, 2010, has been sent to the Cabinet,” said a senior coal ministry official. He, however, added the authority would not have the power to grant or cancel mining licences.