Power-surplus Punjab to splurge on buying electricity

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 23, 2015 08:48 IST

Out of the total revenue expected to be generated by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) in the current financial year 2015-16, a major chunk -- 43% -- would go into buying power.

It is despite the fact that the state top brass has announced Punjab as a power-surplus state that would sell power to the neighbouring states.

The PSPCL has sought the approval of Rs 11,147 crore for buying power from the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC). As per the proposal, the newly installed privately owned thermal power plants in the state - Talwandi Sabo, Rajpura and Goindwal -- also fall in the list for buying of power.

Despite the tall claims by the government, 48% power requirements of the state are to be met by buying power.

The approval for purchasing power from the PSERC came with a word of caution. It says, "The commission reiterates that the PSPCL needs to purchase power in a judicious and economical manner and also resort to demand-side management (energy conservation) practices to maintain commercial viability."

Interestingly, the PSPCL has kept a provision of about Rs 15 crore for the energy conservation programme, which is just 0.04% of the total expenditure.

As per the tariff order pronounced by the PSERC earlier this month, the total energy requirement to meet the needs of the current financial year is 51,057 million units, of which 24,617 million units (48%) has to be met though purchase from central generating stations and other sources.

The tariff order documents that the state has 26,440 million units available from its own sources, including its share in hydel-generating units of Bhakra Beas Management Board.

The quantum of power purchase projected by the PSPCL from various plants is provisionally approved subject to the approval of power purchase agreements by the commission.

Apart from power purchase, other huge expenditure is employee cost of Rs 5,481 crore, which is 17.5% of total revenue of about Rs 31,310 crore, which the PSPCL is expected to earn during the current fiscal. While the expenditure on repair and modernisation is just negligible, it is 1.7% of the total revenue generation.

From the state's private thermal plants, the total purchase is expected to touch Rs 4,742 crore - from Sterlite-owned Talwandi Sabo thermal power project purchases are expected to touch 2,582 crore, from thermal power plant in Rajpura owned by Larsen and Toubro the total purchase is expected to touch Rs 1,674 crore, and from Goindwal Sahib plant owned by GVK group it is expected to touch Rs 488 crore.

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