All eight private power plants have shut down due to acute gas shortage

Six gas-based power projects in East Godavari district with a combined capacity of 5,000 MW have shut down their units due to acute shortage of gas. One of the projects has even started selling gas turbines and other units from its plant. The government, on its part, has said that gas supply is possible only after July.

“We don’t know what policy the next government will adopt on gas supply to private power plants. It till take at least two months to put all private power plants in the region on track if we start the gas supply by May-end,” says G. Satyanarayana, General Manager, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).

The idle plants due to shortage of gas are GMR’s Vemagiri (850 mw), GVK’s Jegurupadu Extension (440 mw) and Gauthami (250 mw), Konaseema Gas Power (750 mw) Reliance (450 mw) and Spectrum (450 mw).

The GMR’s barge mounted gas-based power plant was originally commissioned at Mangalore in 2001. After operating with naphtha as fuel till April 2010, the barge was moved in July 2010 to Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, where it was modified and commissioned to operate on natural gas. The GMR Group’s Vemagiri plant commenced commercial operations in February 2008. The plant was initially allocated gas from GAIL and later it changed to RIL D-6.

The story of GVK, Jegurupadu, is more or less the same, but it was started much earlier. It started generation in 1996 with a capacity of 235 MW and in 2007, and an attempt was made to expand it. A month ago it barely produced 60 MW and now, the plant is completely closed down.

The GAIL has thrown up its hands citing non-availability of gas from different sources, including failure of D-6 Block of the Reliance Gas.

Reliance Infra in Samalkot, established in 1996, immediately started operating with 235 MW and the first unit running successfully till date. Based on GAIL supply, the old unit generates to its capacity only once in three months and its present capacity is 50 to 100 MW for its own use.