“There were no official complaints (earlier) from them. Moreover, they have the option of joint sampling and prices are decided on the basis of that, which they were not doing in many cases,” said a senior official from the sales and marketing division. Both NTPC and CIL are central government-owned; CIL has near-monopoly on coal.
According to reports, NTPC chairman Arup Roy Choudhury had alleged in a recent meeting with Union power secretary P Uma Shankar that it had billing problems after CIL shifted to pricing based on gross calorific value, from the earlier system of useful heat value, in January.
“As far as quality is concerned, sampling is done during the production stage and also during loading for consumers,” said N Kumar, director (technical), CIL.
NTPC sources said Choudhury had written a letter in this regard to CIL chairman and managing director S Narsing Rao in September. “The issue is not yet resolved. There were problems with quality, as lower grade coal was being delivered on a higher price. This is continuing since January. There was a high-level meeting in this regard early this week and the losses are estimated to be more than Rs 350 crore,” said an NTPC spokesperson.
On the revised fuel supply agreements, an issue of some controversy, CIL said only 30 had been signed and it was yet to get a response from the remaining power utilities. “We are willing to sign FSAs any time but the onus is on power firms. More than 120 units are yet to respond,” the CIL official added. The company came out with a revised draft of FSAs in September, following protests from power utilities.
There are 49 units set up between July 2009 and December 2011 and another 81 units commissioned, already and due to be, between January 2012 and March 2015, where an FSA is yet to be signed.
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