Costly power tussle

Delhi’s power sector is turning out to be an issue of arm twisting between the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party government.

While the Delhi government has been pressing for surrendering expensive power and cancelling such agreements, the Central government run NTPC, on the other hand, has allocated power from Jhajjar and Dadri II power stations back to Delhi. Irked by the move and the absence of any response from the Union Ministry of Power on its previous communication, the Delhi government has once again written a letter to Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

Speaking to The Hindu , Delhi Power Minister Satyendra Jain alleged that the Central government has not been responding to its letters, but rather restarted allocation of costly power to Delhi from plants like Jhajjar.

“A second letter has been sent to the Union Power Minister on the issue of surrendering expensive power. The letter was sent on August 6 and it also urges on the Centre to intervene in cancelling expensive Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs),” he said.

The Delhi government in its previous letter had urged the Centre to permanently surrender 2,255 MW of electricity provided by 11 central government power plants which included 693 MW from APPCL Jhajjar (Aravali) and 735 MW from Dadri Stage-II (Thermal). “Instead of surrendering or cancelling agreements, centrally run NTPC has restarted power allocation to Delhi from two plants,” he rued.

The reallocation of power has not gone down well with the discoms as well. “Electricity is as high as Rs. 10 per unit that is procured from the plant in Jhajjar. The one in Dadri II stations sells for about Rs. 5.4 per unit. The average cost of power purchase now stands at Rs. 3. There shall be no shortage even if power from these sources is surrendered or if the agreement as a whole is cancelled because we have enough tie-ups in short term supply,” said a discom official.

According to power experts, if 376 MW from the Jhajjar plant is surrendered then the discoms would save around Rs .350 crore per annum. In the case of Dadri II, the savings would be around Rs. 150 crore.

Delhi’s power was reallocated to other States between 1 July 2014 and 31 March 2015 from the Jhajjar plant and for the Dadri plant it was between 14 November 2014 and 31 March 2015.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal also, on Sunday, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and allow cancellation of agreements with power companies, saying they are selling electricity at higher rates.

“I appeal to the Prime Minister to intervene as it (the Centre) has powers to cancel the agreements. Why are we purchasing fifty per cent of the power at Rs 5.5 per unit when many other companies are promising to give it at cheaper rates?” reasoned Mr. Kejriwal while launching the Electricity Bill Dispute Redressal Scheme in East Delhi’s West Vinod Nagar.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 2:40:07 PM |

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