Andhra Pradesh Government has lodged a ‘protest’ with the Centre over reduction in allotment of natural gas from 75 to less than 50 per cent to the state from the Reliance’s D6 wells in the Krishna-Godavari basin.

“I have written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue and also took it up personally with him the other day. The State could not produce 30 million units of power as 1,300 MW of installed capacity was lying idle due to non-availability of gas for power projects,” Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy told a press conference in Hyderabad on Monday evening.

“I lodged a protest with the Prime Minister on the gas supply issue and requested him to personally intervene and sort it out in the interests of the State and the country.”

Asked if Reliance was deliberately cutting down gas production from the D6 wells, the Chief Minister declined to comment. “You have freedom of expression...I don’t.”

As against the installed capacity of 2,772 MW of gas-based power, only about 1,500 MW was being generated at the seven gas-based power generating stations in the state, leaving 1,272 MW of capacity idle.

Reliance was supposed to supply gas to meet 75 per cent of the plant load factor (PLF) but the current level of supply was sufficient only for 46 per cent PLF.

“The State is currently having a shortfall of 42 million units of power. If the gas-based stations were running to capacity, we would have got another 30 million units, reducing the deficit to just about 10 mu. With the gas-based power stations lying idle for want of gas, capital cost of over Rs 5,000 crore was also lying waste,” Mr. Kiran pointed out.

Andhra Pradesh should get 12.97 mmscmd of gas from Reliance and Government-run ONGC for the seven gas-based power plants but currently the supply was only 7.97 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meters per day).

The Chief Minister said the power supply situation in the State was expected to improve in the next few days as a 500 MW unit of NTPC Simhadri Stage-IV at Visakhapatnam would be synchronised.

“We have purchased another 230 MW of power from Jhajjar in Haryana but could not draw it due to technical failure. We hope to overcome the problem in the next few days and get the power to overcome the shortage.”

Meanwhile, the AP Government agreed to bear an additional subsidy of Rs 175 crore to reduce the burden on about 44 lakh consumers in the State who were to be affected by the recent hike in power tariff.

“The burden on each family will reduce by Rs 10 per month because of the additional subsidy to be borne by the Government,” Mr. Kiran said.