Govt sees big money in power trade

CHANDIGARH: The state government is raking in big money by selling “surplus” power.

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23

The state government is raking in big money by selling “surplus” power. With most states in North India facing an acute shortage of power because of low availability of coal, Punjab is selling its surplus power generation for anything between Rs 7 and Rs 8 per unit, making a profit of 66 per cent on the cost of generation.

With the rakes for carrying coal to most thermal units in North India being in short supply, many thermal plants, located in states neighbouring Punjab, are learnt to be undergoing coalshortage and thus power supply. Punjab’s demand for power presently is just 8,059 MW as against its generation capacity and total power availability of 13,500 MW.

Since the average cost of power generation is Rs 4.50-5.50 per unit, the PSPCL saw a good opportunity in selling power at the power exchange for up to Rs 9.50 per unit. The government has thus started operating one unit of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabbat, and two of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, to generate power to be sold at the exchange.

A Venu Prasad, CMD, PSPCL, told The Tribune that they had sold 100 MW (megawatts) of power at Rs 7.84 per unit on Monday and another 200 MW on Tuesday. “In April, we managed to sell surplus power at the power exchange for Rs 56 crore,” he said. He added that they had been selling power on the exchange ever since Punjab turned power surplus, generating Rs 107.54 crore in 2016-17, and Rs 445.50 crore in 2017-18. The state has also increased its gross hydel generation capacity by 636 units during 2016-18.

He added that even though they had shut down Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda, long-term power purchase agreements (for 25 years) have been signed with Power Trading Corporation and Solar Energy Corporation of India to buy 750 MW of power at rates ranging between Rs 2.52 and Rs 3.49 per unit.

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