As part of their day-long meetings with top government functionaries, the heads of private power companies on Wednesday apprised Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal about problems faced in getting fuel supplies for projects.

“They have a lot of issue, gas and coal related, Power Ministry etc. So, regarding these problems Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting the company heads of these private power companies in the evening,” Mr. Jaiswal told reporters after his meeting with about a dozen power sector top executives.

Private power companies have been seeking pooling of domestic and international coal prices in the total cost to be shared by all the power companies.

Coal Ministry has apparently rejected this proposal saying that it is not possible.

“For thermal power production, coal is required, they (power companies) had suggested that the pooling of prices should be done and the burden would be shared by all the power producers, which is not possible,” Mr. Jaiswal said.

Softening its stand on the minimum assured supply of coal to the power producers, Mr. Jaiswal said that the coal ministry may agree for 65-70 per cent ‘trigger-level’, or the minimum level of coal supply to the projects, failing which the coal companies would be penalised.

“One of their (power companies) problem was the signing of the FSA or the fuel supply agreement, they had asked to increase it from 50 per cent, we will talk to the Power Ministry and if they agree we may take it to 65-70 per cent,” he said.

Power Ministry had earlier pushed for a 90 per cent ’trigger’ in all fuel supply agreements for thermal power projects commissioned or to be commissioned between April, 2009, and March, 2012.

The Coal Ministry insisted that the minimum guaranteed supply should be 50 per cent of the contractual quantity, it was reluctant to sign the agreement for over 50 per cent quantity due to low fuel production with Coal India.

Earlier this morning, the top power sector executives, including Anil Ambani and Cyrus Mistry, had met Planning Commission Member B.K. Chaturvedi, to discuss the various issues jamming growth and investment in the power sector.

They were expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later in the evening.

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