Govt to rope in experts for boosting power revenue

SHIMLA: Worried over the decline in revenue from the power sector, the state government has decided to rope in experts to prepare its ‘Power Portfolio’.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 30

Worried over the decline in revenue from the power sector, the state government has decided to rope in experts to prepare its ‘Power Portfolio’. The aim is to generate maximum electricity and get the best possible rates for power.

The Electricity Department will soon engage experts from established agencies like the Power Trading Corporation, Tata Power Trading Company and JSW Energy Group. They will prepare a guide map for the department. The fact that there has been a decline in the revenue is a cause of concern for the power surplus state.

“The experts will tell us which is the best time to sell power, what should be the rate, when to close down a project for annual maintenance and other issues,” said Tarun Shridhar, Additional Chief Secretary (Power, Personnel and Revenue).

Another decision for which the Cabinet has given its nod is to have a long-term agreement with the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) and Tata Power Trading Company for the sale of power generated in Himachal. At present, there is only one-year agreement with the PTC which sells 90 per cent of the power generated in the state and also with Tata Power Trading Company which sells 10 per cent of power. Himachal sells electricity worth Rs 1,000 crore every year.

The fact that annual revenue from the power sector has declined from Rs 1,300 crore in 2010-11 to barely Rs 700 crore in 2014 does not really auger well for the state.

The money to the tune of Rs 300 crore per annum coming in the shape of upfront money from the awarded hydropower projects has stopped.

The experts will guide the state to sell its power at the most opportune time when the rates are high and when to close down its power projects for annual maintenance without affecting the generation much.

The officials said the government undertakings, including the HP State Electricity Board (HPSEB), HP Power Corporation Ltd and the Energy Directorate, had power engineers, but not experts who understand the fluctuating power markets.

He said the opinion of power experts on power economics would be crucial in getting better revenue from the power sector, for which the state had immense potential of over 28,000 mw hydropower generation, out of which not even half has been harnessed.

Despite having ample surplus power at its disposal, there are times that the rate of power has dipped to Rs 2.30 per unit. The fact that the response of the independent power producers in taking up new advertised power projects has been cold is an indicator of the grim power market scenario.

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