The tall claims by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal of Punjab becoming “power-surplus” have again fallen flat as the power corporation has floated tenders for buying 4,000 MW power in the summer, besides taking nod from the power regulator to impose power cuts.
The state buys electricity every summer, but during the last Lok Sabha elections, it was claimed that the state had become power surplus, with enough spare energy to sell.
The only private thermal plant operating fully at present is Rajpura, while only one unit of the Talwandi Sabo plant, inaugurated before the elections, is currently working. The fate of the JVK Goindwal Sahib plant still hangs in the balance as it has no coal linkage.
The short-term power purchase will commence from June 10, when the paddy sowing season starts in Punjab.
The power corporation expects that the unrestricted demand will touch 12,000 MW, but at present there is availability of around 9,500 MW. The state has 3,700 MW generation from government-owned hydro and thermal plants, while nearly 2,000 MW is coming from private thermal plants; the rest is the allocation from central power utilities.
As per the tender floated by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), it will buy 1,400 MW power in June, 1,600 MW in July and 950 MW in August.
“A good monsoon is the only saviour, otherwise we have to enforce the power restrictions,” admits a senior PSPCL official.
The worrisome factor is the coal crisis looming large on the PSPCL. Though the cancelled coal mine has been reallocated to the power corporation, it is still not operational. Thus, the PSPCL may fall short in the coal supplies which will curtail its power generation capacity.
Last year also, the power corporation had purchased 2,600 MW power.
Not only the power purchase, the PSPCL has also taken nod from the power regulator to impose power cuts if the demand exceeds or the monsoon fails.
PSPCL CMD KD Chaudhri said the power corporation had floated tenders to ensure proper supply to the consumers. “Though Punjab is comfortable in terms of the power generation capacity, still our coal mine has not become operational. Thus to avoid any crisis, the PSPCL has floated tenders to purchase power in summers when the demand hits the maximum,” he added.
Tender floated for buying power
Period Power in MW
June 10 to 30 1,400
July 1 to 31 1,600
Aug 1 to 31 950