‘Closure of Bathinda, Ropar power plants to harm consumers’
The power engineers accused the government of ignoring facts while taking the call on retiring ‘inefficient’ units because ₹715 crore has been spent on extending the life of the units to 2022-2029.punjab Updated: Dec 21, 2017 18:57 IST
The PSEB Engineers’ Association on Thursday hit out at the Punjab government for deciding to close the ‘inefficient’ units of Bathinda and Ropar thermal plants, claiming this will leave the consumers ‘at the mercy of private players’.
“Unfortunate decision of Punjab cabinet, citing baseless reason of units being inefficient and based on CEA guidelines is actually based on lies and half truths,” the association’s General Secretary Devinder Goyal said.
All the engineers employed with state power utilities PSPCL and PSTCL are members of PSEB Engineers’ Association.
“This move will further reduce the share of state power sector vis-a-vis private sector thereby leaving the state power consumers at the mercy of private players,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Punjab cabinet approved the closure of the ‘inefficient’ power units of 460 MW Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), Bathinda and Unit-1 and 2 (2x210 MW) of 1260 MW Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar.
It said the move was taken in line with the guidelines of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to retire inefficient and economically inviable power plants in operation for more than 25 years.
The power engineers accused the government of concealing and ignoring facts while taking the call on retiring ‘inefficient’ units.
They claimed a sum of ₹715 crore has been spent on extending the life of GNDTP units to 2022-2029.
“CEA has nowhere stipulated to retire already renovated units before completion of their extended life.
“PSPCL in June 2016 meeting of CEA, on its own informed CEA about retiring of 1 and 2 units of GNDTP and informed that units 3 and 4 which have been renovated will be in operation for next 3 to 4 years,” Goyal said.
“While PSPCL has started aggressive action to retire Bathinda units (already renovated), no other state has agreed to retire its renovated units,” he said.
The association also took exception to the state government’s claim of loss of ₹1,300 crore caused by Bathinda thermal plant, saying it is ‘absurd and baseless’.
“Government should explain to the public if power is said to be available at ₹2.50 per unit then why is it being procured from independent power producers (IPPs) at much higher cost.
“Further, what is being done about higher fixed cost being charged by IPPs particularly TSPL (₹1.23), GVK (₹2.20) and NPL (₹1.43) in comparison to lower fixed cost of Sasan in MP (₹0.16) with same technology/design and having been tendered around same time as TSPL,” Goyal asked.
Meanwhile, over 1,000 GNDTP employees on Thursday protested in Bathinda against the government’s move.
Agitating employees under the banner of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant Union organised a protest rally and blocked the Malout and Muktsar highway.