Resource Digest - - POWER DEMAND -

Adozen power gen­er­at­ing com­pa­nies (gencos), state-owned PowerGrid Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia (PGCIL), and state elec­tric­ity boards are fight­ing over the def­i­ni­tion of 'stranded trans­mis­sion lines' and charges levied on the gencos for sur­ren­der­ing trans­mis­sion routes.

In a re­cent hear­ing at the Cen­tral Elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (CERC), the Cen­tral Trans­mis­sion Util­ity (CTU) owned and man­aged by PowerGrid - sub­mit­ted it is un­able to cal­cu­late charges levied on the gencos when they sur­ren­der a par­tic­u­lar trans­mis­sion line. CTU was also un­able to de­fine whether such a line is a stranded ca­pac­ity or not.

The CTU cur­rently levies Rs 40 lakh per Mw as re­lin­quish­ment charges from any gen­er­at­ing com­pany that sur­ren­ders a trans­mis­sion net­work due to ei­ther lack of power de­mand or change of power sup­ply plan. Th­ese charges are con­tin­ued to be levied for 12 years count­ing it as stranded even though it might be put to use for some other gencos.

The power com­pa­nies im­pleaded by CTU, which are af­fected by the re­lin­quish­ment charges are in north, east and west re­gions are Es­sar Power, Jin­dal In­dia Ther­mal Power, Jaiprakash Ven­tures, GMR En­ergy, Lanco, MB Power, and KSK Ma­hanadi.

The com­pa­nies, in their sub­mis­sions, have unan­i­mously ques­tioned the modus operandi of cal­cu­la­tion and the amount of re­lin­quish­ment charges. The sub­mis­sions, also have raised a ques­tion on how a trans­mis­sion line can run empty when it is part of a com­mon net­work.

A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive said, "For all th­ese years, we have been pay­ing Rs 80-90 crore an­nu­ally for not us­ing a line and we are sup­posed to pay this amount for 12 years. The re­lin­quish­ment charges should not be levied as in an in­ter­meshed net­work, there is no stranded ca­pac­ity or empty line."

CTU, in its sub­mis­sion, said it was fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in "iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of utilised and non-utilised trans­mis­sion el­e­ments in a meshed net­work. Hence, the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the el­e­ments in a meshed net­work which shall get stranded can­not be known."

A se­nior CTU of­fi­cial said gen­er­a­tion has be­come so dy­namic that the trans­mis­sion plan keeps chang­ing and, hence, the gen­er­a­tion com­pany is li­able for any change in the trans­mis­sion plan. "We don't know which and how much gen­er­a­tion will come where. This makes iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of stranded ca­pac­ity dif­fi­cult and ques­tion­able. But penalty can very well be cal­cu­lated," said the of­fi­cial.

"PGCIL has never cal­cu­lated the loss it faces due to the lines sur­ren­dered. Hence, such charges are un­rea­son­able and ar­bi­trary," said the ex­ec­u­tive in a power gen­er­a­tion com­pany. "It is also a case of wind­fall gains by a pub­lic sec­tor unit."

CERC has formed a com­mit­tee to sug­gest a method­ol­ogy to as­sess stranded ca­pac­ity and the mode of charg­ing re­lin­quish­ment charges. CERC of­fi­cials said there is a like­li­hood of change of def­i­ni­tion of stranded ca­pac­ity in the reg­u­la­tions.

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