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PSPCL units shut as power coming from private plants

Since November all the three thermal plants of the PSPCL are in shutdown mode.

punjab Updated: Dec 04, 2017 11:59 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL),Patiala,Punjab
(HT Representative)

As power demand in the ongoing winter season nosedives, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has shut all its thermal power plants, and is now relying on private plants for which it pays fixed charges.

However, this alleged over-dependence on the private players means the state corporation is under-utilising its resources, allege power engineers.

“The vicious circle that power engineers had cautioned against during signing of the purchase agreements with power players, has now been proven. Our state-owned units were best in India, and now we are not operating. That is to save the fixed cost, which the PSPCL has to anyway pay to private plants, whether or not it purchases power,” said a senior engineer who did not want to be named.

Overall, since November all the three thermal plants of the PSPCL are in shutdown mode, while private sector units at Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo are operational.

The 460-MW Bhatinda plant is shut since September 27. The Lehra Mohabbat plant is non-operational since November 9, while the one at Rupnagar since November 15.

As per figures, over the last four years (2012-13 to 2016-17) the use of Bathinda plant has reduced from 47% to 18% of its capacity, Lehra Mohabbat from 90% to 34% and Rupnagar from 83% to 25%.

At the same time, private sector plants have seen a rise. The one at Rajpura had plant load factor of 55% in 2014-15, which increased to 77% in 2016-17. At Talwandi Sabo, it went from from 35% in 2014-15 to 47% in 2016-17.

“The biggest challenge before the state government is to reopen the one-sided purchase agreements to curb undue profits being raked in by private parties at the people’s cost,” said a PSPCL functionary, requesting anonymity.

As per the official spokesman, the PSPCL purchases power on merit to save every paisa per unit. As per that formula, power from private plant is cheaper, “otherwise we have to pay fixed cost”, said the spokesperson.

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 08:52 IST