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In a relief, cash-strapped PSPCL to buy cheap power from grid in peak season

It’ll purchase electricity from the grid at rates as economic as Rs 3 per unit. The price is even lesser than the cost of power generated by the state-owned and private thermal plants in Punjab.
By Vishal Rambani, Patiala
UPDATED ON MAY 24, 2020 11:02 PM IST

In a major relief, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which has been under financial stress due to low demand in the wake of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, will buy electricity from the grid at rates as economic as Rs 3 per unit and that too during the peak summer season.

The price is even lesser than the cost of power generated by the state-owned and private thermal plants in Punjab.

The corporation has entered a short-term agreement with the grid to purchase 1,500 megawatt (MW) electricity from June to September, particularly keeping in view the upcoming paddy season.

The cost of the Talwandi Sabo Power Plant and independent power plants is around Rs 3.40 per unit against the variable cost of Rs 2.94-Rs 3.04 per unit the corporation will pay to the grid for a unit.

“Even as power demand in Punjab is likely to remain on lower side this year due to the prolonged Covid-19 crisis, the corporation’s agreement for power purchase with the grid will come handy in case of an emergency in any power station,” said a senior PSPCL official.

“Cheaper power purchased through short-term tenders and power exchange will help replace costly electricity procured though long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) and also reduce the use of imported coal by thermal plants,” he added.

PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Baldev Singh Sran said “Our endeavour is cut the cost of power supply. Usually, the power rates remain high during the peak summers, but this time we got a good deal. The corporation will save Rs 100 crore through the short-term agreement.”

“We have placed an order for purchasing 605 MW power (of 1500 MW) from 10 June to 30 June when the demand soars due to paddy sowing. We have made arrangements to provide 8-hour power supply to farmers and round-the-clock uninterrupted power to other consumers,” he added.

POWER DEMAND SOARS IN STATE

Due to increase in temperatures and consumption of power by agriculture pumpsets for direct sowing of paddy and other crops, power demand in Punjab on Saturday crossed 8,000 MW which was equal to the corresponding day last year.

Due to spike in demand, the PSPCL has asked the L&T’s 1,300 MW plant to start power generation. The plant was shut due to less demand of power in the state due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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