Cancel PPAs if it ensures cheaper power: Sukhbir Badal to Punjab govt
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday asked the Congress government in Punjab to cancel the power purchase agreements (PPAs) with three private thermal plants if it translates into cheaper electricity for state residents.
The SAD chief said the government should provide affordable and 24-hour electricity in the state as was done by the erstwhile dispensation led by their party instead of politicising the issue of fixed charges paid to thermal plants to cover up mismanagement.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, he said, “Punjabis want cheap power. If that’s possible by cancelling the PPAs with three private thermal plants then do it. But chief minister Amarinder Singh should take the responsibility of covering the shortfall of 4,500 megawatt (MW) power at cheaper rates so that Punjab residents do not suffer due to this.”
The SAD chief said the issue of fixed charges was being politicised by both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) even as they know the truth that this cost is applicable on private and government thermal plants as well as power purchased from outside the state.
“The Congress government is playing politics on the issue of setting up of private thermal plants which came up after much thought due to huge power shortfall in 2007. This shortfall occurred because the then Congress government (2002-07) led by Amarinder Singh did not add a single megawatt power to the state kitty. The SAD government took the decision to make Punjab power surplus and followed a standard PPA document created by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre to establish captive thermal plants in the private sector,” he added.
The PPAs were signed to purchase electricity between ₹2.86 and ₹2.89 per unit, the cheapest at the time, he claimed. “The erstwhile SAD government spent ₹5,000 crore on upgrading the transmission and distribution network,” he added.