Despite poll, no buyers for state power

SHIMLA: Himachal’s hopes of getting buyers for its surplus power in the election season seem to have been dashed with none of the poll-bound states keen on purchasing electricity to woo voters as has been the case in the past.

editorial@tribune.com

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 31

Himachal’s hopes of getting buyers for its surplus power in the election season seem to have been dashed with none of the poll-bound states keen on purchasing electricity to woo voters as has been the case in the past.

Despite Assembly elections in some of the big states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, there has been no demand for purchase of power. Himachal has sold 3,079 million units of power till January 24. The miserably poor rates of power coupled with no buyers has affected revenue from one of the biggest sectors in the state.

“Himachal has already sold power worth Rs 800 crore till now and this figure will touch Rs 900 crore for 2016-17, but there are no major buyers keen to purchase power from us,” revealed Tarun Sridhar, Additional Chief Secretary, Power and Revenue. He said on an average, the state had sold power at Rs 2.60 per unit, which is much lower as compared to previous power rates.

The power surplus state was hopeful that like the previous Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh when Mayawati was the Chief Minister, the poll-bound state would purchase power from HP. Just before the last poll, UP had bought power worth Rs 200 crore from Himachal. But this time, UP has not placed any order for the purchase of power. Similarly, Punjab too has not bought any power from HP this time.

Out of the total power sold by HP, 2,057 units have been sold through the energy exchange platform at Rs 2.30 per units. The remaining 1,000 units have been sold bilaterally at Rs 2.60 per unit. The power rates per units keep fluctuating as on January 24 the rate was as low as Rs 2.80 per unit while on January 23, only a day earlier, it was Rs 3.94 per unit.

“When the power rates are as low as Rs 2.30 per unit under the exchange platform, why will any state want to buy electricity from us at higher rates,” admit power board officials. They said there had hardly been any improvement in the grim power scenario this year also.

To attract investors and give a boost to the power sector, the state government had even made some major amendments in the State Hydro Power Policy- 2006 to facilitate power producers by relaxing certain conditions and enhancing the time period for obtaining clearances for projects.

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