Punjab spending Rs 5 cr a day to buy power - ECAS Punjab

Punjab spending Rs 5 cr a day to buy power

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Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 29

With two of the three private thermal plants, including Nabha Thermal Plant at Rajpura and Mansa-based Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, shut and GVK's 540-MW power plant at Goindwal Sahib left with little coal stock, Punjab stares at a grim power scenario.

One pvt thermal plant functional

Just one private thermal power plant is functional with less than two days of coal. Also, two state-run plants with limited capacity have four days of stock left. The state can see a blackout anytime. - PSPCL Official

The shortfall of power generation is costing the state dear as fixed charges that have to be paid to private plants stand at over Rs 5 crore daily.

Sources confirm that the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has been left with no option but to buy short term power costing Rs 5 crore per day from various suppliers to meet demand in the wake of suspension of goods train. "This power comes with a condition that the cost has to be cleared within 24 hours, which means that the PSPCL is facing a huge financial burden", they said, adding that this additional cost will ultimately be passed to the consumers.

Already reeling from debts of around Rs 25,000 crore, the PSPCL management has to further pay fixed charges to the tune of over Rs 2,000 crore per annum despite the shutdown of private thermal power plants.

The state-owned Rupnagar and Lehra thermal plants are left with five-day stock but are currently shut. "We are trying to manage with power we are buying from the open market", said A Venu Prasad, CMD, PSPCL.

According to official data, the state generates 13,653 MW from own sources. The private thermal plants have a generation capacity of 3,920 MW and two state-owned thermal plants 1,760 MW. Hydro power generation stands at 1,018 MW, while solar 1,359 MW. Bhakhra Beas Management Board supplies 1,161 MW. The state is drawing 4,434 MW from the central pool to meet the shortfall.

The total demand in the agrarian state varies from 14,000 MW during peak paddy season to 6,000 MW the rest of the year.

"The purchase of 700 MW on daily basis is expensive and will also impact power banking for summer months due to the generation loss", says Vinod Gupta, spokesperson, All-India Power Engineers Federation.

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