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Power overdraft: PCL paying through nose

NEXT TO J& K, Uttar Pradesh is the only state in the Northern Region that is paying high penalty to the Centre in the form unscheduled import (UI) charges for making overdraft of electricity from the grid.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 01:26 IST

NEXT TO J& K, Uttar Pradesh is the only state in the Northern Region that is paying high penalty to the Centre in the form unscheduled import (UI) charges for making overdraft of electricity from the grid.

Interestingly, all other States are virtually minting money by getting the Central power allocated to them more than their requirement and letting a hapless UP purchase power from the quota left unused by these States.

Not wondering then UP is the biggest defaulter as far as payment of UI charges to the Centre is concerned. In the end of December, UP (read UPPCL) had around Rs 500 crore UI charges pending against it since April 2005. It is followed by only J&K, which has Rs 350 crore dues against it. These States as per rules will pay the dues to the Centre which in turn will distribute the money thus recovered from those States whose electricity these two States have over-drawn from the grid. Thus, Delhi has to get Rs 148 crore from the Centre on payment by UP, J&K, Haryana (Rs 2 crore), Rajasthan (Rs 226 crore), Chandigarh (Rs 197 crore), Himachal Pradesh (Rs 451 crore), Punjab (Rs 581 crore), Uttaranchal (Rs 609 crore) and MP (Rs Rs 90 lakh).

Every State has its fixed share in Central power. The share changes on day-to-day basis depending on the frequency of the grid. If a State imports power from the Centre when the grid frequency is above or below the danger mark, the power so purchased costs up to Rs 5.70 per unit against the normal Rate of Rs 1.80 per unit. Since, UP always has a huge demand-supply gap, it has no option but to go for excess purchase of electricity from the Northern grid and pay heavy penalty as UI charges. The State has to over draw to the tune of 700-800 MM every day at an average rate of Rs 4 per unit.

Significantly, what is happening is that, while submitting the daily power purchase schedule to the Centre, all other States deliberately demand more power than required by them. They get all the power allocated to them, but do not consume all of them. And when UP demands over-drawl, the Center obliges it by exporting the power left unused by other States. Curiously, these States purchase power at normal rates but sell to UP at an exorbitant rate that goes up to Rs 5.70 per unit!

Moreover, the Centre has accused UP/UPPCL of not resorting to the grid discipline and endangering the grid security by going for over-drawl at the critically low frequency. However, a senior UPPCL also said that much of the problem existed due to the Corporation not observing grid discipline. “Power import can be decreased by properly managing and distributing the power load and resorting to some austerity measures including conservation of energy,” suggested he.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 01:26 IST