State approves power purchase
The Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday approved release of Rs 1,300 cr for the State power utility Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd, reports Dharmendra Jore.india Updated: Feb 14, 2007 01:32 IST
The Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday approved release of Rs 1,300 cr for the State power utility Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) for buying additional power till the monsoon.
As the State is reeling under 5,500 MW of power shortfall, the state utility will buy 600MW daily to avoid forced load shedding. Currently, the state utility enforces 4 to 14 hours load shedding in urban, semi-urban and rural areas. Two days ago, it forced additional day of staggered load shedding for the industries having a weekly one-day off.
However, the latest move will not change the situation entirely albeit it will offer some relief during forced load shedding.
"The current load shedding, including two-day power cut for the industries, will continue despite power purchase," said MSEDCL managing director A.B.Pandey.
He said the power will primarily come from Andhra Pradesh where some plants are ready to produce costly power for Maharashtra. However, Pandey didn't name any specific producer. The purchase rates will vary from Rs 7 to 12 and the company will need at least Rs 320 cr per month till the monsoon sets in.
The demand goes down in the monsoon as both domestic as well as agriculture consumers use relatively less power then.
Pandey made it clear that the purchase would start only after receiving a cheque of full amount from the State. "The MSEDCL is already facing losses of Rs 400 cr per month. I don't where would the money to make up the losses come from," he told HT.
The bad news for the consumers is the tariff will go up.
Pandey said the expenditure would be recovered from consumer if the Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) approved it. MSEDCL faces problem in getting it approved from MERC as it has exhausted the allotted quota of costly power purchase. "In case of non-approval the amount received from the government will have to be treated as a subsidy," he added. MSEDCL will move MERC later this month for approval.
The state cabinet’s decision has come as a knee jerk reaction to the protests from across the State over increased load shedding.
The ruling Congress and NCP cannot afford to face an irked rural population as 27 zilla parishads are going to the polls on March 11. The main opposition party in the State, the Shiv Sena has already launched agitations in protest of the load shedding.