CERC asks Power Grid to seek govt funds to cut cost


Resource Digest - - CONTENT -

The Cen­tral Elec­tricty Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (CERC) has di­rected state-run Power Grid Corp to seek govern­ment’s help to re­duce the cap­i­tal cost of its Rs 12,000-crore high volt­age di­rect cur­rent (HVDC) trans­mis­sion line so as to not bur­den con­sumers un­duly. The line will re­main un­der-utilised for next two-three years be­cause of de­lay in hy­del projects in the north-east re­gion. Trans­mis­sion charges for var­i­ous lines are shared among users in the pro­por­tion of ca­pac­ity al­lo­cated to them.

“The com­mis­sion feels it nec­es­sary to share the bur­den of cap­i­tal cost of trans­mis­sion scheme by way of as­sis­tance from the Power Sys­tem De­vel­op­ment Fund (PSDF) by way of a one­time grant,” CERC said while ap­prov­ing an­nual trans­mis­sion charge for the HVDC line be­tween As­sam and Agra. The com­mis­sion di­rected Power Grid to take up the mat­ter with the mon­i­tor­ing com­mit­tee of the PSDF and the power min­istry for a grant to re­duce the bur­den of trans­mis­sion charges on the cus­tomers.

Al­though the trans­mis­sion line be­tween Bishwanath Chairali in As­sam and Agra, run­ning over 2,000 km, was ap­proved in view of the hy­dro elec­tric po­ten­tial of the north-east re­gion along with Sikkim and up­com­ing projects in Bhutan, in­or­di­nate de­lays in sev­eral of th­ese projects has meant that the line would re­main un­der-utilised for a few years. The line which was com­mis­sioned late last year is cur­rently car­ry­ing only 900 MW from Agra to As­sam, much below its ca­pac­ity.

Even though the com­mis­sion sought to shift the bur­den of the line away from the cus­tomers, it echoed the Power Grid’s stance on the im­por­tance of the trans­mis­sion line say­ing, “the use­ful­ness and im­por­tance of the sub­ject trans­mis­sion as­sets should not be seen in the nar­row prism of its im­me­di­ate util­i­sa­tion dur­ing the ini­tial years but needs to be as­sessed over the en­tire life cy­cle of the as­sets which will carry the hy­dro power from the huge po­ten­tial in North East for the ben­e­fit by the en­tire coun­try.”

The trans­mis­sion sys­tem was planned to take care of power sup­ply from the North East­ern re­gion, which has an abun­dance of hy­dro power re­sources amount­ing to 65 000 MW, to load cen­ters that are lo­cated sev­eral thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away. The first phase of 3,000MW line was com­pleted and var­i­ous el­e­ments were com­mis­sioned late last year. The se­cond phase of the pro­ject with a ter­mi­nal at Alipur­d­uar in West Ben­gal is likely to be com­pleted in the next fis­cal.

While the com­mis­sion ap­proved por­tion of cap­i­tal cost sought by Power Grid, it has still not de­cided on the quan­tum of charge to be shared by dif­fer­ent states. The com­mis­sion di­rected Power Grid to serve no­tice on all con­sumers for a de­tailed hear­ing.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, As­sam, one of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the line, urged the com­mis­sion to not bur­den the ben­e­fi­cia­ries the state with trans­mis­sion charges for fail­ure on the part of gen­er­at­ing sta­tion in com­mis­sion­ing the units.

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