You will now have to pay more to help make the state power cut-free by December this year.
Mahavitaran, the state’s power distributor, has to pay Rs. 1.50 more per unit for the power it needs to plug the demand-supply gap over the next one year. Consumers will have to bear this additional cost. The distributor, which caters to 1.9 crore consumers across the state, needs at least 12,500 – 13,000 MW daily to supply power without interruptions, but its supply sources, such as Mahavitaran, cannot meet this demand. This has forced the distributor to turn to two private players, who charge more for short-term power supply.
If the regulator clears Mahavitaran’s proposal, Adani Power and JSW will supply 775 megawatts of power daily for the next year, starting from December (see box). Each unit from these suppliers costs Rs1.50 more per unit than the two firms’ long term supply to Mahavitaran. Long-term supply usually costs less than power supplied in short-term.
Mahavitaran has been struggling to make up the state’s power deficit as its main supplier, Mahagenco, has not been able to generate enough electricity (see box). Even state-owned and private plants that had agreed to supply cheap power to the distributor have been struggling to make targets. The gas-fired Dabhol plant is only generating a third of its power capacity.
“Mahavitaran is under public and political pressure to meet the deadline for making the state load-shedding free because the state had missed at least two deadlines before,” said a company official.
With former energy minister and DyCM Ajit Pawar putting pressure from outside the government, new energy minister Rajesh Tope has been demanding quick results, said a senior energy department official. “Pawar has been making announcements at public functions that his party (NCP heads energy) would fulfill their promise in December.”
Major towns were made power cut-free many years ago under a scheme in which consumers paid 40-50 paisa more per unit. But smaller towns and semi-urban and rural areas continued to have planned outages for the next eight years. Mahavitaran excluded some regions, asking its employees to work harder while recovering dues and minimise power thefts.