Centre Advises Coal India, NLC India to Cut Supply Costs

The Indian government has issued a directive to Coal India and NLC India, the country’s leading coal producers, urging them to explore avenues to reduce coal supply costs by 10-15%. This move comes amidst growing concerns over the rising cost of coal, which is squeezing power generation companies and pushing electricity prices upwards for consumers.

India’s dependence on imported coal has been steadily rising in recent years. Data from the Coal Controller’s Organization (CCO) paints a concerning picture. In December 2023, the average price of imported coal reached a staggering ₹20,154 per tonne, a steep 78% increase compared to December 2022. While domestic coal prices haven’t witnessed such a dramatic rise, they haven’t remained unaffected. The CCO data reveals a 12% year-on-year increase in December 2023, with the average domestic coal price reaching ₹1,422 per tonne.

Lower Power Tariffs & Improved Industrial Competitiveness

The government estimates that a 10-15% reduction in coal supply costs could translate to significant annual savings of ₹1.2 lakh crore for the power sector. This, in turn, has the potential to bring much-needed relief to consumers in the form of lower power generation tariffs. A report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) suggests that a 10% reduction in coal prices could lead to a decrease in power tariffs by ₹0.50 per unit. This reduction would be particularly beneficial for industries that are heavily reliant on electricity, such as manufacturing and textiles. Lower power costs can improve their operational efficiency, potentially leading to increased competitiveness and job creation.

Challenges and Strategies for Cost Reduction

Industry experts acknowledge the challenge faced by Coal India and NLC India in achieving the targeted cost reductions. However, they believe there are several strategies these companies can explore:

  • Optimizing Mining Operations: Implementing new technologies like automated excavation equipment and data-driven extraction planning can improve efficiency and reduce production costs. Additionally, focusing on extracting coal from mines with lower operational costs can contribute to overall cost reduction.
  • Logistics Efficiency: Collaborating with the Indian Railways to streamline transportation routes and expedite coal movement can lead to significant cost savings. Furthermore, exploring alternative modes of transport, such as inland waterways, for feasible routes could offer additional cost benefits.
  • Alternative Sourcing: While India remains heavily reliant on imported coal, Coal India and NLC India can explore sourcing a larger portion from domestic mines with lower production costs. This can involve ramping up production at these mines while ensuring adherence to environmental and safety regulations. Additionally, exploring reliable import sources with competitive pricing can help diversify the supply chain and mitigate dependence on expensive international options.

The success of this government initiative hinges on the collaborative efforts of Coal India, NLC India, the power sector, and potentially the Indian Railways. Effective implementation of these cost-cutting measures has the potential to bring down power generation costs, benefitting both consumers and industries across the country. This, in turn, can contribute to economic growth and improved energy security for India.

Recent Blog : FPIs’ March Investments: Rs 50,000 Cr in Equity, Debt



Send Us A Message