Even as the mercury continues its upward climb, there's a mix of good news and bad, on the power front. Delhi has started receiving around 200 megawatt (MW) of power from the Centre's unallocated quota as assistance in tiding over an anticipated shortfall during peak summer.
While this comes as a relief for electricity consumers, the actual amount of power expected by the Capital's was around 350 MW. "We were given 200 MW after seeing our drawal (of electricity) pattern from the Northern grid. So far, Delhi has been pretty disciplined in drawing from the grid," said a senior power department official.
The power distributing companies are the happiest when central power is pumped into the system to make up for the shortfall.
Here's the reason: This power is the cheapest they can find. Power from other commercial sources costs above Rs3-Rs3.50 per unit, on an average.
Typically, during peak time, power bought to meet steep loads may cost Rs7-R8 as well, and sometimes more. Discoms have been averse to buying costly power because, they claim, it burns large holes in their pockets. "But the central power costs around Rs2.50 per unit and thereabouts, which makes it a cheap and convenient option for power companies," said the official. In their aggregate revenue requirement documents for the new tariff determination exercise, the discoms have shown that their average power purchase cost for the year gone by was upwards of Rs4, while the expected average cost for the current year has been given as upwards of Rs5.
Discoms have also shown an increased projection of energy to be supplied by them.
Only 17% of Delhi's total power requirement is met by its own plants. It mostly requires power from the Centre, mainly plants owned by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), which caters to around 70% of the power demand.
Earlier, Delhi discoms had projected a shortfall of around 500 MW.
This was in view of power plants like Delhi's Bawana and Haryana's Jhajjar - whose power was expected to arrive this summer - being delayed. Bawana is expected to start operation in late June or July.