The Central Electricity Authority has officially marked five power stations where coal stocks have reached critical level of which two have been labelled "super critical stock positions," in the early signs of a coal shortage in the country after more than a year.
At least 15 power stations have stocks that would last five days or less.
For a pit-head power plant, a critical stock position is attained when coal stacked at its yard is adequate only for four days.
A super critical stocks position is when the coal is not adequate for three days.
For a non-pit-head power plant critical stock position is attained when coal is not enough for seven days and stocks less than enough for four days makes the stock position super critical for such power plants.
"Even if coal stocks at pit-head power plants decline to a few days we do not consider the position alarming as additional coal can be pushed as and when necessary," a senior Coal India official said.
"In most cases Coal India has already supplied between 70% and 80% of the volumes it was supposed to send during the period.
However, in one case, production at the mine from which the plant was being fed has been affected and the company is trying to normalise supplies from other mines," he said.
"There are plants for which Coal India has already supplied more than the volumes that it was to send since the beginning of the financial (year).
For example, Santaldihi Thermal Power station in West Bengal has received almost double the quantum it was to receive in this period, while Talcher Power station has received 1.5 time the coal," he said.
The Muzzafarpur Thermal Power Station has been receiving less coal since the plant has not been settling dues on time.
Nevertheless, total stocks at all power stations declined to 19 million tonnes and is enough for 14 days on an average, against 23 million tonnes in the previous period being enough for 19 days.
Over the last few months Coal India has reduced its production because power plants refused to take additional coal because their stockyards were full.
This slashed the increase in production and sales in the last two months.