All pvt plants shut, no dearth of cheap power - ECAS Punjab

All pvt plants shut, no dearth of cheap power

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Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 3

No supply of coal due to the farmers' agitation may have shut power plants in the state, but Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is buying cheap electricity from the power exchange at market rates, thus saving on crores of rupees.

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Former PSPCL chief engineer

Opportunity lost

PSPCL had a golden opportunity to finish off the coal stock of the independent power producers and avoid fixed charges...but it made all three producers to operate at partial load.

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Besides energy charges, which are too high, roughly Rs 9.75 crore is being paid as fixed charges to all three private power plants. Experts say power costs Rs 3.80 per unit from GVK's Goindwal Sahib Plant, Rs 3.35 per unit from Mansa-based Talwandi Sabo Power Limited and Rs 3 per unit from Rajpura-based Nabha Thermal Plant. Comparatively, power from the open market is available in abundance at less than Rs 3 per unit and rates are expected to drop further by mid-November. Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that even before the farmers' stir started in the state, the three private plants in September had "not adhered to the mandatory guideline of keeping 30 days of coal stock".

No action over stock norm

PSPCL is yet to initiate action against all three private plants for their failure to maintain at least 30 days of mandatory coal stock, leading to shutdown.

Sample this: On September 20, Nabha plant had 2,69,981 MT of coal for 15.43 days; Talwandi Sabo plant had 1,82,438 MT for 5.20 days; and Goindwal Sahib plant had 37,198 MT of coal for 5.31 days.

PSPCL is yet to initiate action against all three private plants for their failure to maintain at least 30 days of mandatory coal stock, leading to shutdown. Instead, it continues to pay fixed charges to them. The lone private plant (GVK's 540 MW) today was shut after it exhausted its seven-day coal stock. "If the IPPs would have kept their 30-day stock then there would have been no closure of any plant. The best way in public interest would have been to run these plant on full load to exhaust the coal and not pay fixed charges at Rs 10 crore daily as 30-day coal stock was not maintained by them, and thereafter to procure power from exchange at much cheaper rates", said a former PSPCL CMD.

Punjab can easily buy power from the exchange for around Rs 3 per unit. "Consumers will reap the benefit if private plants are kept shut till February. In past winters also, PSPCL bought bulk power from exchange to save on high energy rates charged by private plants," sources said.

"PSPCL today started a unit each at state-owned Rupnagar and Lehra thermal plants. We could not get 500 MW from the exchange and, therefore, some cuts in villages were imposed. We are managing as for now," said A Venu Prasad, CMD, PSPCL.



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