PSPCL sets itself August 15 new dawn deadline

The renovation and modernisation (R&M) of two of the four units of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal-Power Plant (GNDTPP) is years behind schedule, the PSPCL is under pressure to get at least one unit up and running by Aug 15.

punjab Updated: Jul 27, 2012 13:03 IST
Kamaldeep Singh Brar
Kamaldeep Singh Brar
Hindustan Times

Will it be freedom from power crisis on Independence Day?

The renovation and modernisation (R&M) of two of the four units of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal-Power Plant (GNDTPP) is years behind schedule, the PSPCL is under pressure to get at least one unit up and running by Aug 15.

Power shortage has forced the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) take focus off unit 4 and thrust all its energy into getting unit 3 operational before Independence Day. The immediate aim is to get the unit running to at least half its capacity by month-end and then full capacity by August 15. "My engineers are at work round the clock," said plant's chief engineer HS Sandhu.

All four units are designed to generate 110-megawatt electricity. After the R&M project, unit 3 will be able to make 120-MW energy. On November 14, 2006, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) won the renovation contract worth Rs 465.03 crore, and it had 31 months to finish the work.

If everything had gone according to plan, unit 3 and 4 would have been running with enhanced capacity of 120MW each by the end of July 2009. The BHEL kept deferring the start of the work, and the PSPCL never put it under any time pressure.

Originally, BHEL took charge of unit 3 on January 14, 2010. The R&M of unit 4 was proposed to begin only after unit 3 was ready again to generate electricity. On October 4, 2011, the Punjab pollution control board forced the PSPCL to shut unit 4 on account of pollution exceeding the prescribed limit.

If the project had run on time, the PSPCL would never have been forced to shut the two units simultaneously. Both units are now idle during summer, when the demand for electricity is all-time high. Unit 3 isn't up on its feet again, and the BHEL's latest extended deadline for synchronising it has long expired on May 31.

Any further delay in bringing the unit back on line will only deepen the PSPCL's financial mess and the state's electricity crisis. "My engineers are at work round the clock to make unit 3 operate at least half the capacity by July 29," said plant's chief engineer HS Sandhu. "We expect it to operate at full 120-MW capacity by August 15."

Engineers never wanted to shut both units at same time, said Sandhu, "but it become inevitable when the PPCB told them to close unit 4 also. The re-commission of unit 3 will help us combat power shortage in the state."

First Published: Jul 27, 2012 13:00 IST