M. Malleswara Rao
Heavy burden on power consumers in offing
HYDERABAD: "Fuel adjustment surcharge" that the AP Transco/ distribution companies collect when prices of the fuel used by power stations like coal and gas go up will shortly figure again in the monthly bills of consumers at enhanced rates.
It may become inevitable with the Gas Authority of India Limited hiking the price of gas available from the Ravva Satellite Fields, a joint venture of ONGC and M/S Cairn Energy, by Rs. 56 per MBTU (million British thermal unit--this is the unit by which heat produced by gas is measured)--to Rs. 207 MBTU from Rs. 151 MBTU.
The Ravva gas is being supplied to four private plants (Lanco, Reliance-- BSES, GVK and Spectrum), apart from Vijjeswaram station, a joint venture, all used by AP Transco, and others like Nagarjuna Fertilizer Corporation. The functioning of these power stations is crippled as gas supply to them is hardly 60 per cent (6.96 million cubic metres per day (mcmd) while the contracted demand is 9.34 mcmd). For the rest of the six months of this fiscal, the burden on consumers will be Rs. 29 crores and for the full year next year Rs. 55 crores. The immediate burden of Rs. 29 crores will be passed on to consumers and reflected in the monthly bills.
On its part, the AP Transco is gearing itself for another legal battle with GAIL, taking up the consumers' cause. Its first fight has been against the GAIL's collection of higher "gas transmission charges" (Rs. 607 crores till last year). "We are trying to muster support from our private plants also in this genuine fight," says Rachel Chatterjee, Transco CMD.