Special Correspondent

Lack of full details irks electricity regulatory panel

Issue at stake is gas that is to be supplied to four upcoming power projects Counsel for ONGC, GAIL asked to come back with original MoU

HYDERABAD: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gas Authority of India Limited faced the wrath of the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission again over gas they are expected to supply to the four upcoming power projects -- Konaseema, Vemagiri, Gautham and GVK extension.

At the renewed hearing on the gas supply agreements here on Saturday, APERC Chairman K. Swaminathan and its two members expressed dissatisfaction that their counsel turned up also without filling all columns in the questionnaire furnished by the commission and provided only insufficient replies where the columns were filled.

Implications for Transco

Shortage of gas supply, as is being pleaded by the ONGC/GAIL these days (after signing agreements to ensure "firm allocation" to these projects) and the higher price quoted by them have an immense bearing on power consumers in the State. The implication is that if gas is not made available by the cut-off date when projects are ready for commercial operation, Transco will have to shell down Rs 1,020 crores per annum as "fixed cost" to them without even taking a single unit of power.

Admonishing the two public sector undertakings again for taking matters "in a casual way," Mr Swaminathan and the members directed their counsels to come back with original MoU on supply, signed between the ONGC and GAIL on one hand and between the GAIL and the projects on the other.

They were also asked to fill all the columns in the questionnaire with full details in the interest of public. The commission posted the hearing to January 28 again.

The commisson wanted to know from ONGC and GAIL as to what efforts they had made to fulfil their gas commitments to the projects and to increase the output from the existing gas wells.

A. Punna Rao, a former engineer of APSEB, pleaded for collection of penalty from GAIL/ONGC if they pleaded shortage and demanded public display of the correspondence between the State and Union Governments relating to the gas supply to the projects. M. Venugopala Rao, a journalist- power expert, said the price quoted by them was 140 per cent higher than that specified under the "administered price mechanism."