From a loss-making public sector undertaking struggling to pay its employees in 2019, the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd. (WBPDCL) has scripted a turnaround by becoming the best-performing power generation corporation in the country.
Three thermal power plants of the State-run WBPDCL have established their places in the top five ranks in terms of performance and efficiency (as measured by the plant load factor or PLF). This is according to a list published by the Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power.
The Bakreswar power plant of the WBPDCL has taken the top spot (PLF of 92.38%) out of 205 plants operating in the country, as per an official press statement. The Santaldih plant was ranked second (PLF of 91.37%) and the Sagardighi plant fifth (PLF of 89.39 %) nationally.
“WBPDCL which ranked the best power generation corporation in the country is much ahead of Central power sector undertakings like NTPC (third position) , DVC etc and also of private power companies like Reliance power (Sasan at 12th position), Neyveli Lignite corporation (at 16th position) , Adani power ( Dhanu at 35th position) and Tata power (Jojobera at 15th position),” the West Bengal government said in the statement.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also welcomed the development and described it as a moment of the immense pride for the State. “WBPDCL sets a new benchmark in power generation, with its power plants securing top spots in the country’s PLF rankings. Bakreswar TPS (Thermal Power Station) claims 1st place, followed by Santaldih TPS & Sagardighi TPS in 2nd and 5th position respectively,” she tweeted earlier this week.
In the financial year 2022-23, the WBPDCL registered a record gross generation of 31.85 billion units, with a growth of 26.81% over the past two years, to become the best-performing power corporation in the country.
P.B. Salim, Chairman and Managing Director of WBPDCL, who took charge in 2019, said that the turnaround occurred by adopting best of operations and maintenance practices and multiple imaginative human development and welfare measures, which enabled the improvement of operational and financial performance of the organisation.
Plugging pilferages and avoidable losses was also a focus area and by improving efficiency and performance, the overall power generation increased by 26%, making an additional six billion units of extra power for sales, a WBPDCL official said.
The WBPDCL has been able to reduce the cost of power production by around 80 paise per unit from ₹4.2 per unit to around ₹3.4 per unit.