Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal keeps insisting that Punjab will generate surplus electricity by the end of 2013, but the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is battling harsh reality.
With only 270 megawatts (MW) expected to be added before the summer, the PSPCL has estimated an expenditure of over Rs. 8,680 crore on buying power.
The amount as quoted by the PSPCL in its annual requirement report for 2013-14 submitted last month to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) is enough to set up a thermal power plant of over 1,500MW. The thumb rule to set up power plants across the country has been Rs. 5 crore per MW. L&T is building a 1,400MW plant at Rajpura at a cost of
around Rs. 8,000 crore using advanced systems.
Earlier this week, the PSERC allowed short-term purchase of 2,578 million units for April-October 2013, the last paddy season before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The PSPCL had sought approval for 4,239 million units.
This short-term buying at Rs. 4 per unit will cost nearly Rs. 1,000 crore to the PSPCL. The remaining part of the Rs. 8,680 crore is earmarked for long-term agreement purchases, a call on which is to be taken after the regulator speaks with farmers, industry and other stakeholders.
As for the power-surplus dream, the 1,980MW Talwandi Sabo has missed the November 2012 deadline, and experts believe it would overshoot the reset mark of August 2013 too.
In fact, the PSPCL has asked that in case of slippage of any upcoming projects, additional procurement equivalent to the generation of the plant may also be allowed.