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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

PSPCL leniency towards pvt thermal plants costs state dear

Vishal Rambani  Patiala, July 13, 2014
First Published: 23:18 IST(13/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:21 IST(13/7/2014)

Even though privately-owned thermal plants have failed to live up to expectations of the state in summers and caused embarrassment to the state government, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited’s management has adopted a lenient attitude towards them as it has failed to recover penalty for the delay in commissioning of thermal plants.

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Owing to the delay in commissioning of private plants, the PSPCL has to invoke the penalty clause and
demand Rs. 1,090 crore from them.

As per the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with the private plants, in case a unit is not commissioned by its scheduled date, the private entity will have to pay liquidated damages (LD) to the PSPCL.

Out of the seven private thermal units with a total 3,920MW capacity, only one unit at Rajpura (700MW) has been commissioned as of now.

Though Punjab is forced to purchase costly power from other states due to unwarranted delay in commissioning of private thermal plants at Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal Sahib, the state government has not recovered the penalty worth Rs. 1,090 crore.

As per the schedule, the first unit of the Talwandi Sabo thermal plant was to be commissioned by August 31, 2013, followed by second unit in December 2, 2013, and third one by April 30, 2014. However, no unit has been commissioned so far.

As per the PPA, the PSPCL has to claim Rs. 951 crore as liquidated damages from the Tawlandi Sabo plant, but it is yet to do the needful.

Similarly, GVK has failed to commission even a single unit of the Goindwal Sahib plant so far and LD amounting to `139 crore is due since May 30, 2014. Again, the PSPCL has not made the recovery.

Incidentally, LD to the tune of Rs. 10 crore from L&T’s Rajpura plant on account of a 15-day delay in commissioning of its first 700MW unit, which was commissioned on February 1, 2014, against due date of January 17, has been recovered.

It’s strange that the PSPCL has penalised L&T, which delayed commissioning of the unit by 15 days only, but didn’t take any action against two other plants, which are running almost one year behind the schedule.

While the L&T plant is already operational, the major embarrassment to government has come from the Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal Sahib plants that have failed to start commercial operation.

Despite repeated attempts, PSPCL chairperson-cum-managing director KD Chaudhri could not be contacted for comment.

On the other hand, PSEB Engineers’ Association president Baldev Singh said, “Already, a white paper has been released on the working of the PSPCL management, which is favouring the private players at the cost of consumers and state.”

He said the management must come clean that why the PSPCL has not recovered the liquidated damages amounting to Rs. 1,090 crore from the Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal thermal plants?  “What about the loss on account of interest on this amount,” he asked. As these plants have not been commissioned in time consumers are facing power cuts and Punjab has to purchase costly power from other states, he said, demanding early recovery of the penalty.

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