The increased power purchase has affected the power generation at thermal plants in Punjab during the first six months of the financial year.
According to official sources, the generation at three thermal plants of the state dipped by more than 800 million units in the first half of the financial year due to backing down of the units following excess power purchases.
The 920 MW Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant generated 3,459 million units (MU) in the first six months against last year's generation of 3,871 MU during the corresponding period.
Similarly, the 1,260 MW Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Rupnagar, generated 4,428 MU in the six-month period ending September against the 4,808 MU during the corresponding period last year.
According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) reports, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) thermal plants in the state failed to achieve the given targets of generation this year. The generation target of thermal plants in Punjab was down by 16.82% in June and 18.42% in August from the scheduled target of 84.82% and 86.24%, respectively.
This year, the monthly generation at Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant varied between 493 MU and 624 MU and at Rupnagar thermal plant the variation was between 657 MU and 874 MU. The Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant used to be among the best run thermal plants of the country last year.
The PSPCL had tied with various power generators for supply of about 5,400 MW power at rates varying from Rs. 3.97 per unit to Rs. 4.04 per unit. To take the committed power purchase, the PSPCL used to back down its own thermal units whenever power demand took a dip due to rainy season. The generation cost at the Lehra Mohabbat and Rupnagar thermal plants is much less than power purchase cost. This may lead to more burden on consumers in the next tariff order.
According to sources, the director (finance) has been able to put brakes on the reckless short-term power purchases being resorted to by the PSPCL.
The backing down of the PSPCL's own thermal units may become more after the thermal units of private companies become operational in December this year. The state will be forced to buy power from these private thermal plants as per power purchase agreements.
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission had approved the short-term power purchase of 2,578 million units to the PSPCL from April 2013 to October 2013 for meeting the unrestricted demand.