In the absence of buyers, production has been scaled down
Delhi has surplus power, but can find no buyers for it. In the neighbouring suburb Gurgaon, the situation is converse, with barely enough power, load-shedding lasts several hours everyday and consumers are forced to pay more for power generated through diesel gensets.
While Delhi seems to have made arrangements for more than its expected demand, States like Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh among others have been reluctant to purchase power, which in turn has led to power generation being scaled down in several power plants and heavy load-shedding.
“State electricity boards (SEB) have been reluctant to purchase power because they have no money. Instead of borrowing on heavy interest rates they find it easier to load shed,” said a Delhi’s Power Department official.
No buyers, has also resulted in power plants not being able to function to their full capacity. “Assets are stranded because there are no buyers. Currently, the frequency is good, the unscheduled interchange rates are disciplined, but the State electricity boards claim they do not have the money to buy power. There are several States across the country where heavy load-shedding is being carried out, because they don’t have enough power to supply,” said an official of the power department.
In the absence of buyers, production has been scaled down in several generating stations. “Generation at new plants like Dadri II, which is super efficient, but generates power at an average unit price of Rs.5 had to be reduced. Similarly, the Aravalli Jhajjar Thermal Power plant too cannot function to its full capacity,” said the official.
States like Delhi that have a surplus power have found no takers. The Delhi Government, which wrote to all the neighbouring States to purchase the extra quantities of power, has now asked the Centre to step in and find a way. “We have about 700-800 MW of surplus power, but none of the neighbouring States have shown interest in purchasing it. We have now asked the Centre to intervene,” said an official.
Idle capacity in the merchant power sector is another cause of concern. “Of the current coal-based operating capacity of about 3000 MW only 300 MW is merchant, which is not fully getting scheduled due to utilities opting for load-shedding in stead of procuring merchant capacity and southern States are not able to buy from other parts of the country due to lack of power transfer capacity,” said. K. Rajagopal, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lanco Amarkantak Power Private Limited.
And while the SEBs refuse to purchase expensive power; it is the consumers who are being forced to pay more for DG set generated power.
“In Gurgaon, Noida and other suburbs where there are power cuts for several hours, consumers have no option but to pay for DG set generated power, which is as expensive as Rs.11-14 per unit. The DG sets also wreak havoc on the environment and that is a cost that cannot even be calculated,” the official said.