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‘Power surplus’ Punjab set to burden consumers

punjab Updated: May 10, 2014 11:14 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times

“Power surplus” Punjab is set to burden its consumers by Rs 700 crore through power purchase and power cuts a day after claiming “no coal crisis”. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has moved the regulatory commission, seeking approval for emergent short-term purchasing of electricity.

The petition is a U-turn from the statement of chairman and managing director KD Chaudari on Tuesday that there was no shortage of coal to fuel the thermal-energy plants.

The petition makes it clear that the shortfall is severe since the supplier has put a squeeze to extort higher price.

The PSPCL press release on Tuesday had laid a rosy picture before the state government and public but a day later, in the petition before the regulator for emergent short-term power purchase for the summer of 2014, it has mentioned opposite facts.

It has stated coal shortage to be the main reason for electricity crisis. “Panem Mines has stopped the supply of coal to the PSPCL thermal-energy plants and so, of the 2,640-megawatt capacity, only 800-MW electricity can be generated at these sites.

At Ropar, only 500 MW; at Lehra Mohabbat, only 250 MW, and at Bathinda, no electricity can be generated. We will be short by 1,840 MW,” reads the petition.

Apart from that, transmission constraint will account for 1,823 million units (MU) of less electricity under the banking arrangements.

The private sector this summer will be able to operate only one thermal-power unit each of the three at Talwandi Sabo and two at Rajpura; while of the two units at Goindwal Sahib, none will operate.

Powercom will buy 5,047 MU from May to September for about Rs 2,000 crore. “Own power will have cost Rs 1,300 crore, so the consumers will have Rs 700-crore burden, besides the inconvenience of power cuts,” said an engineer dealing with power generation.

The corporation, however, said that the generation from own units would improve May onwards.

“The PSPCL has no other option but to go for short-term power procurement in view of the serious shortage in spite of best efforts to tie up with long-term sources.

The reasons are beyond control and related mostly to non-availability or reduced availability of fuel,” read the petition before the regulator, seeking its permission to impose power cuts.

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