Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi holds meeting with officials to review the project

The Vallur thermal power project, a joint venture project of the erstwhile Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) and the NTPC, should have supplied at least 375 megawatt of electricity to Tamil Nadu nearly two years ago – October 2010. The State should have got another 375 MW from the project in April 2011 and 375 MW more in October 2011.

This was the schedule of the project made public three years ago.

In two weeks, it is going to be five years since the formal inauguration of work on the project.

On September 5, 2007, Sushilkumar Shinde, now Union Home Minister and then Power Minister, laid the foundation stone for the project, which would have three units of 500 MW each. The share of Tamil Nadu would be 375 MW from each unit.

The deadlines in the last two years were postponed and the expected months of commissioning kept changing. Yet, electricity consumers have not been informed by the authorities decisively when two units, forming part of the first stage of execution of the project, will start generating power and feeding to the grid in a sustained manner.

On Tuesday, Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi held a meeting with officials concerned to review the project position along with other generation projects.

What has become clear at the meeting was that the coal handling facility, being established by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), is expected to be ready in a month – September-end.

The delay in the completion of this component is cited as one of the factors that has led to the delay in the commencement of commercial operations of the Vallur project. Five months ago, one unit of the project was synchronised with the grid but it could not sustain generation due to the absence of the facility,

Sources say that a trial run of production is on for the last few days and approximately 175 MW to 200 MW is being fed to the grid. This is possible with the available portion of the coal handling facility.

The second unit is likely to be synchronised by November and the plan of the project authorities is to commission it a few months later. The third unit will provide generation during the middle of the next financial year.

The officials are hopeful of the synchronisation of one additional unit each of the North Chennai and Mettur thermal power stations in the coming weeks.