Reduction of Power tariff will dent reforms

January 28, 2014
The Planning Commission does not seem to be happy with the rising wave in favour of power tariff reductions nationally triggered by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's 50% tariff relief for domestic consumers.

"The policy of free power is a very bad idea and against the spirit of reforms. Unless we improve the financial health of utilities and stop the policy of freebies, it will be difficult to look after the ongoing reform process," B K Chaturvedi, Member-Energy and Infrastructure, said in an interview.

The former cabinet secretary was responding to a question on the dampening impact of the calls for tariff reduction being made by multiple states encouraged by the Delhi government's latest populist move months before general elections. "The power sector is not in a position to bear the burden nationally. The consumers should pay what they can afford," Chaturvedi said.

Encouraged by Delhi's move, the Maharashtra government has also announced a 20% tariff cut for consumers. Besides, Haryana too announced cut in power tariffs earlier this month. Similar calls for tariff cuts are being made in Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. Chaturvedi said power utilities providing support to the poorest sections is a good idea provided they can afford it.

That, however, is not the case. Power distribution companies had accumulated losses of Rs 2.4 lakh crore as on March 2012. Non-reflective tariffs as political freebies coupled with rising cost of power purchase has led to combined short-term debt of Rs 1.9 lakh crore. The centre had in September 2012 announced a Financial Restructuring Package (FRP) to bail-out discoms that had timely tariff revisions as a precondition.

Eight major defaulting states have started restructuring the liabilities and tariffs were being corrected. However, Kejriwal's announcement of subsidizing half of the power cost has dampened the enthusiasm for reforms, experts say.

The Delhi government has also ordered a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audit of discoms' accounts. The three city discoms, owned by Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power, have challenged the government's decision in the Delhi High Court.

Chaturvedi also said the government should allow rebidding of those infrastructure projects where work is yet to commence and the developers are facing difficulties in commissioning. He, however, cautioned against rebidding of projects in the power sector which are at advanced stages of commissioning.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) is currently hearing disputes between consumers and private companies -- Tata power and Adani Power – over viability of tariffs from their two 4,000 Megawatt projects.

 

NTPC proposes to add Dabhol to Telangana package

January 23, 2014
To help the cash-strapped Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd (RGPPL) tide over the tough times, state-run NTPC Ltd, which owns 32.86% stake in the utility, has proposed that electricity generated from the Dabhol power plant be made a part of the Telangana package.
NTPC, which has invested Rs.974.31 crore in RGPPL, has communicated the proposal to the power ministry. The other stakeholders in RGPPL are GAIL (India) Ltd, which also owns 32.86% in the utility, the Maharashtra government with ...
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BSES complains to Delhi government on tariff reduction

January 11, 2014
Reliance Infra-backed power distribution company BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd has sought Delhi Government's intervention in overcoming its "precarious financial" condition in absence of a "cost-reflective" electricity tariff in the national capital.

In a letter to Delhi's Power Secretary Punit Goyal, the company said it has been finding increasingly difficult to get bank loans due to delay in announcing a liquidation plan of existing regulatory assets and the new government's approach toward...


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Key audit of Delhi electricity utilities yet to be completed

December 27, 2013
All eyes are on Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) whose overdue audit of electricity utilities in the capital will be the key to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being able to deliver on its electoral promise of halving power bills. An AAP government is set to be sworn in on Saturday under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal.
The regulator had appointed Feedback Ventures ( now Feedback Infrastructure Services Pvt. Ltd ) as a consultant in early 2012 for the capital expenditure revie...
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Grid interlinking - More power to southern states likely from January 2014

December 16, 2013
On January 14, a single national power grid would allow seamless pan-India flow of electricity in uniform frequency. State-owned transmission utility Power Grid Corporation is set to charge its high-voltage (765 KV) transmission line between Solapur in Maharashtra and Raichur in Karnataka by the second week of January, ending isolation of the southern grid, which has remained technically cut-off from the north, east and western grids. The integration of the grids would enable consumers...
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Tata Power completes restoration work at Mundra plant

December 7, 2013
Tata Power today said the restoration work at its Mundra plant, which was impacted by fire, has been completed and the insurance claim is being processed. "Restoration of the impact of fire on conveyor was achieved on November 20, 2013 and the company has processed the insurance claim as per coverage," Tata Power said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges.

Tata Power's 4,000-MW ultra mega power project at Mundra in Gujarat caught fire on November 18 last month, partly affecti...


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Kudankulam unit started generating 370 MW

November 28, 2013
The first unit (1000 MWe) of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), is now generating 370 MWe and electricity is being wheeled into the southern grid, according to R.S. Sundar, Site Director, Kudankulam-1 and 2. Two Russian reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 MWe, had been built at the KKNPP in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

The first one, which went critical on July 13, was now stabilising and it would generate its full power in January 2014, he said.

"We are monitori...


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Notification issued for revesting in Kerala State Electricity Board Limited

November 13, 2013
The Kerala State government has issued a gazette notification transferring all employees, assets, and liabilities in the State power sector, which were vested with it, to Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB Ltd.), a corporate entity in the State public sector formed as stipulated by the Electricity Act of 2003 to replace the erstwhile Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

The notification was as per the decision taken by the Cabinet on October 30. The transfer of employees, as...


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Odisha to adopt disaster proofing power system

November 5, 2013
Having suffered loss of about Rs 1,000 crore in power infrastructure due to cyclone Phailin, Odisha government has decided to take up 'disaster proofing' of the system in some parts of worst-hit Ganjam district. In the initial phase, the power distribution system would be made armoured in Berhampur, Chatrapur and Gopalpur towns, official sources said today. The cost of the project will be around Rs 300 crore with more than one lakh consumers to reap the benefits, a senior official at t...
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Kudankulam: first unit synchronised on 22-10-2013 at 2.45am

October 22, 2013
Even as India and Russia stumbled on clinching an agreement on purchasing two more reactors for Kudankulam, there were celebrations at the Tamil Nadu-based plant as the 1000 MW nuclear reactor was, for the first time, connected to the southern grid.The much-awaited synchronisation of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project's first reactor with the power grid completed on Tuesday morning as the last-phase work on electricity generation began on 21-10-2013 midnight. As of now, only one-tent...
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Power-surplus Haryana struggles to find buyers

October 18, 2013
Even as Haryana is in the market to sell its surplus power, it seems to be having difficulty in finding buyers. The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), the two state-owned power distribution companies, have been searching for buyers for 500 megawatt (MW) of power from the last two-and-a-half months.

However, the power utilities have not received any response for their surplus power so far.

The two distribution companies, which had i...


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Striking power workers plunge Andhra into darkness

October 8, 2013
Several towns and hundreds of villages in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh Sunday plunged into darkness while several trains were cancelled as the indefinite strike by electricity employees to protest the decision to divide the state hit power generation and supply. Following talks with the officials on Sunday night, employees agreed to restore supply in six districts but made it clear that they would resume the strike Monday morning.

Supply was restored in Ch...


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Indian nuclear plants register 379 reactor years of operation at 80% capacity

September 26, 2013
The Indian nuclear power sector has registered over 379 reactor years of safe operation as on date. The average annual availability of the Indian nuclear power plants (NPPs) has remained at 90%. Six of the 19 reactors, currently under operation, have logged continuous operation of more than 300 days during the year, informed Dr RK Sinha, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

One reactor year means one reactor in operation for one year. 379 reactor years means the accumulated e...


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Andhra grid unaffected by power utility staff's strike in Seemandhra

September 15, 2013
Barring the instances of supply interruptions in some areas due to transmission line problems, the 72-hour strike  by close to 30,000 employees of the state power utilities in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions by far remained peaceful.

No major disruptions to either supply or the generation of electricity were reported in the last 48 hours except in some cases where the power interruptions remained unattended in villages as the staff joined the anti-bifurcation stir.

According t...


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TANGEDCO completes financial restructuring plan

September 10, 2013
The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO), power utility arm of the Tamil Nadu Government, has completed its financial restructuring. It may be noted, TANGEDCO will be the first power utility in the country to complete the financial restructuring.

Addressing the Power Ministers' Conference at New Delhi today Natham R Viswanathan, Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise, Tamil Nadu Government said that assistance to the tune of Rs 19,155 crore in ...


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State power ministers conference on 10 September

September 8, 2013
State power ministers will meet in New Delhi on Wednesday to try and resolve issues that are plaguing the sector. Key issues to be taken up at the seventh conference of power ministers include speedy implementation of schemes such as the rural electrification programme, accelerating measure to plug transmission and distribution losses, a model state electricity distribution responsibility Bill and strengthening the electricity transmission network, central power ministry officials said...
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Delhi to implement LT TOD metering for domestic consumers

September 1, 2013
The capital may soon introduce LT Time-of-Day (TOD) metering in which power consumers in the domestic sector will be charged according to the power usage during peak and non-peak hours. The new system is expected to discourage users from consuming more power during peak hours so that loadshedding is minimized in residential areas. Power distribution companies often have to procure additional power from the market at a very high cost to meet the demand during peak hours. Last year TOD wa...
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Asia's largest single location solar plant (55Mw) commissioned in Rajasthan

August 28, 2013

Welspun Energy commisioned its 55 mw solar photovotaic (PV) power plant in Rajasthan. This project was a part of the first phase of the National Solar Mission and is Asia's largest single location solar power plant. This solar project located near Phalodi in Jodhpur district has been developed in three phases of 15, 15 and 20 mw. Welspun infoirmed that it completed the project in five months.

This solar PV project will generate total electricity of 90 million kWh annually and supply clean ener...


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R-Power tests Sasan in August, but March commissioning stands

August 19, 2013
Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Power (R-Power) got a reprieve from the appellate tribunal on a dispute relating to the commissioning of the Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh, but the first unit of its power plant completed a successful test for full capacity only on August 14, said a senior government official.

Sasan Power Company (SPL), a subsidiary of R-Power, has been claiming March 30, 2013, as the commissioning date for the power plant.

A 72-hour performance test fo...


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Sree Narayana HSS Okkal won the first prize in zonal level power quiz held at Alappuzha

August 12, 2013
Good monsoon has brought some respite to the power sector as the peak power deficit for the month of July dropped to 4.5 per cent from 5.8 per cent in June. As per the latest data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the peak power deficit -- the shortage in electricity supply -- in the month of July when the demand was at its peak, stood at 4.5 per cent.

There was shortage to the tune of 5,745 MW in July. The total demand during the month was 1,28,461 MW and of which 1,22,716 MW...


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Plan panel concerned about poor quality chinese power equipments

August 6, 2013
The Planning Commission has asked the power ministry to furnish a report on the mounting difficulties faced by Indian project developers due to poor performance of Chinese equipment. The commission's directive has come close on the heels of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) telling the power ministry that fresh electricity generation capacities of plants, which rely on Chinese equipment, are performing poorly, and developers have been experiencing problems on this account.

In t...


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CERC plans to further narrow frequency band for national grid

August 1, 2013
To avoid a blackout such as the one that affected several states on 31 July and 1 August 2012, and caused an estimated $2 billion (around Rs. 11,960 crore today) in losses, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) plans to further narrow the frequency band for the country's national grid.
Grid frequency is a critical aspect of power system operations and a function of demand and supply (when demand exceeds supply, frequency falls and vice versa). Global standards require tha...
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Odisha to invest Rs 3,600 cr in power sector

July 26, 2013
In a bid to provide quality electricity to consumers and farmers, Odisha government today decided to invest Rs 3,600 crore within next four years in the power sector, official sources said.

The decision in this regard was taken at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here. While the state will invest Rs 2,600 crore in construction of new 33/11 kv substations, another Rs 1,000 crore to be invested in installation of dedicated feeders for agriculture and fishery se...


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UP powermen warn against privatisation of electricity distribution

July 23, 2013
The contentious issue of privatisation of electricity distribution in the urban centres of Uttar Pradesh has 'once again' come to the fore. The powermen have warned the Akhilesh Yadav government against any such move lest they resort to agitation.

The privatisation issue has witnessed several such face offs over the years spanning both previous Mayawati and current Samajwadi Party regimes.

Earlier this year too, the powermen had held statewide protests against the alleged move to pri...


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No takers for 5,000 MW power capacity: NTPC CMD

July 18, 2013

At a time when the Prime Minister's Office is busy paving the way for fuel linkage to new power projects, India's largest electricity generation company, NTPC Ltd, is claiming that capacities worth nearly 5000 MW are lying idle due to lack of demand. This includes nearly 2,000 MW of gas-based power.

Blaming it squarely on the cost of fuel and lack of purchasing power of State distribution utilities, NTPC Chairman Arup Roy Chowdhury said: "For the last two-and-a-half months, 5,000 MW of generat...


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GUVNL request GERC to cut solar tariff citing windfall profits

July 13, 2013
Narendra Modi's Gujarat government, lauded by India Inc for being business friendly, has stumped industry as it seeks to back out of the high tariffs contracted for nearly 1,000 MW of solar plants of the Tatas, GMR, Adani, Bollywood star Ajay Devgn, Lanco and others.Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), the off-taker for 852 Mw of installed solar capacity in the state, petitioned the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC), stating projects commissioned before January 29, 2012...
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Solar panel scam: Left-sponsored shutdown in Kerala today

July 10, 2013
Kerala's opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) has called for a state-wide shutdown on 10-07-2013 to press its demand for resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, whom it has accused of involvement in the solar panel scam.

The call for the 12-hour shutdown (6 am to 6 pm), taken at an emergency meeting of the LDF here, would mean all shops, establishments, and markets would be closed and no public transport vehicles would operate.

The LDF's demands that Chandy resign and face a j...


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CCEA 'coal' nod to help CCI fast track 15 power projects

July 4, 2013
The recent decision of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) to allow power projects to pass on the cost of expensive imported coal to recipients would enable quick clearance of at least nine of the 18 power projects which are coming up on 03-07-2013 for the consideration of a sub group of the Cabinet Committee on Investment.

These are projects with a total capacity of 8,890 mw and include projects of Adani Power, and Haldia. Projects belonging to GMR and Lanco are also to be...


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Mumbai - Tata Power consumers to pay 25% more tariff

June 30, 2013
Tata Power is one of the three power distribution companies in Mumbai, the other two being BEST and Reliance Infra. All of them have to get their power tariffs approved from the regulatory commission. In a major tariff shock to residential consumers of Tata Power in the city, the state electricity regulatory commission on Saturday approved a 25% increase in tariff for the year FY14.

Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has approved an average increase in tariff to Rs 5.2...


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Centre plans to supply non-stop, costlier power for commercial users

June 26, 2013

Shopping malls, offices and other commercial consumers would be able to get electricity for 24 hours by paying a little more for grid supply instead of banking on very costly diesel generation as the government plans to help the establishment get the power that state utilities are refusing to buy.

The government also plans to facilitate supply of power from plants that are stranded because domestic fuel is scarce and imported coal costs are higher. This can ensure continuous supply for consume...


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