Swap agreement would be mutually beneficial as consumers in surplus States would get their requirement while AP could cover some of its deficit CEA chairperson A.S. Bakshi

In a move that could bail out the State from the power crisis, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is working on “gas swap” arrangement between States with surplus power like Maharashtra and Gujarat and deficit States like Andhra Pradesh.

The surplus States would be persuaded to allow use of a portion of their allocated quota for power generation in AP. On its part, AP would bear the cost of power supplied to priority sectors such as fertilizer plants in these two States.

“If the Gujarat government agrees, it is possible to swap gas and help States like Andhra Pradesh generate about 1500 MW with 6.5 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meters a day),” CEA chairperson A.S. Bakshi told reporters.

Mr. Bakshi, who was here on Saturday to review the power supply situation, said commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear plant, expected next month, would make available another 150 MW to AP in the first phase. An equal share would be available after the second phase becomes operational.

He said the gas swap agreement would be mutually beneficial as consumers in surplus States would get their requirement while AP could cover some of its deficit following availability of fuel. The CEA had called for a meeting of the States concerned next week. Once an agreement was reached between the States, it would be forwarded for approval to the Empowered Group of Ministers. Mr. Bakshi said among the various reasons for the acute power shortage of power in the southern States was the absence of a transmission corridor to transmit power from surplus States in the north and west. Steps had been initiated to expedite to lay new transmission lines and complete them by February 2014. This would enable evacuation of 2,000 MW power to south.

Asked about the proposed hike in gas prices, he said the Centre was exploring various options, including use of shale gas,for meeting the requirement.