Amid coal crisis looms large overpower utility, Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association today sought a probe from Punjab government into the alleged "undue benefits" given to a coal supplier by power utility Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.
"The undue favours to Panem Coal Mines will have negative impact on the interests of PSPCL...moreover, customers will have to pay higher tariff on account of higher payment to the coal supplier," Association president Baldev Singh alleged in a statement issued here.
The Association alleged that the PSPCL had now succumbed to the "arm twisting" of the coal supplier by agreeing to pay adhoc charges for coal supply.
"PSPCL has now agreed to pay adhoc advance payment of Rs. 100 per tonne over and above the coal purchase Agreement rates, pay interest bearing advance Rs. one crore per rake (Rs 6 crore per day) and also pay pending payments of Rs. 40 crore," he claimed.
As a result of it, Panem Coal Mines has partially restored the coal supply to PSPCL's own thermal power generation plants.
On May 6, PSPCL had said that it had shut down its eight power generating units out of 14 units, though it had claimed that there was no shortage of coal.
The Association said Panem Coal Mines had suspended coal supply on April 9 this year, demanding increase in coal supply charges and also forcing PSPCL to buy "costlier" short-term power to meet the gap between demand and supply.
PSPCL formerly known as Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had entered into an agreement with Eastern Minerals & Trading Agency (EMTA) to form a JV company Panem Coal Mines for development and operation of a coal mine.
Power utility was allocated Pachwara coal block in Pakur district in Jharkhand state in 2002.
Coal purchase agreement (CPA) was signed between PSEB and Panem for supply of coal for 30 years to the thermal plants.
Of PSPCL's total annual requirement of 13.6 MT (Million Tonne) of coal for its three thermals, Panem supplies 7 MT, he said.