1000 MWe will be added in the next quarter; another 1000 MWe in the last quarter of this year

After more than a decade of delays, the Koodunkulam Atomic Power Project will attain criticality in the next quarter.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Tuesday, Power Secretary P. Uma Shankar said 1000 MWe would be added in the next quarter and another 1000 MWe in the last quarter of this year.

The Vallur Power Project (3x500), the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)'s joint venture with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, was well on target. “The first unit will be ready by the end of this year,” said Arup Roy Choudhury, Chairman and Managing Director of NTPC.

State Electricity Boards should “move forward to levy tariffs which will reflect costs” and not stop with mere trifurcation of production, transmission and distribution, said Mr. Shankar, to a question.

“Merely trifurcating them does not make sense…The trifurcation will only be the first step. So they should do move towards further corporatisation of these entities,” he told The Hindu. Asked if the financial health of the State Electricity Boards was a matter of concern to the Centre, he said “definitely”. “This is recognized by everybody, every State government,” he said. Citing the case of Delhi, he said the power tariffs had not been revised for five years. This situation was untenable.

There was no need to force the States to push them towards a rational tariff, he said when asked if the Centre would push the States to adopt more “reasonable levies” on power. “We had organised a meeting of State Power Ministers. All these issues have been discussed in detail. A set of resolutions were passed which broadly encompass the actions required to ensure that the tariffs reflect cost. There is no gap between the cost of supply and the revenues realized,” he said.

BSES pays up

The NTPC has withdrawn the notice to cut power to the Reliance Power distribution companies after these companies paid up, Mr. Choudhury said.

The NTPC had issued notices to cut power supply from September 7 to BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL). According to officials, BRPL owes the NTPC about Rs. 290 crore; BYPL about Rs.189 crore. The NTPC sent many letters and reminders to both these companies asking them to renew the letter of credit.

Asked if payment is problem with State Electricity Boards, he said: “I won't say so. But [with] BSES we were having a problem.” On the issue of southern States, he said that every State had a problem. “Many of them [SEBs' financial] health is not very good. By and large we have got no defaulters,” he told The Hindu.