Sunday, July 18, 2010

New worry for power utility, 8 old units unviable

New worry for power utility, 8 old units unviable:

Vivek Deshpande Posted online: Sun Jul 18 2010, 03:06 hrs
Nagpur : Even as Maharashtra races against time to plug the ever-increasing demand-supply gap, it is facing another crisis that may push its deadline for zero loadshedding to a later date.

At least eight units of Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco), more than 30 years old, are leading to losses to the extent that Mahagenco has decided to shut them down. Parali units 1 and 2, Paras unit 2, Bhusaval and Koradi units 1 to 4 together posted losses worth around Rs 150 crore in 2009-10. As a result, Mahagenco shut down four units of Koradi Thermal Power Station days ago.

“However, with the Maharashtra State Power Transmission Company (Mahavitaran) agreeing to buy power at merchant (commercial) rates, Mahagenco has decided to restart the units and is mulling forming a separate company to run the vintage units on merchant basis if Mahavitaran or Reliance is ready to buy power from them at merchant rates,” managing director Subrata Ratho told The Sunday Express.

Ratho, replying to a question whether Mahagenco had restarted the units under pressure from some local politicians who want them to run to favour a contractors’ lobby, said, “Not at all.” “We were talking to Mahavitaran whether we can run the plants on merchant basis in October-November. Because of Dabhol generation dipping suddenly by 1,000 MW and restrictions on Koyna generation, Mahavitaran has written to us stating they are ready to buy power at merchant rates. That’s why we decided to restart these units,” he added.

Asked if these units getting old meant new units and plants being built would maintain the present production instead of adding to it, Ratho said, “the original idea was to run them till adequate capacity is created, but the losses have become too heavy. So, we have to see if they can be run on merchant basis....”