At a time when the State is reeling under acute power crisis due to restriction on hydro power generation, it is losing out on cheap power because of prolonged breakdown of hydel power generating units.
With water level rising in Hirakud reservoir following heavy rains in the upper catchments of Mahanadi river system, the dam authority opened two gates to release excess water. The water, which goes waste, could have been better utilised by generating power to feed the State, which is facing load shedding.
Three units of Burla hydro power station and one unit of Chipilima power house have remained non-functional for most part of the year due to technical problems. These defunct units, having a generating capacity of 147 mw, are frequently breaking down due to poor maintenance by Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), sources said.
The first, third and sixth units of Burla and the third unit of Chipilima hydro power stations are in need of modernisation as they have outlived their utility. However, OHPC is unable to modernise these units due to financial crunch, the sources added.
Though OHPC, the State-run corporation, is considered a profit-making company, its coffer is always empty due to non-payment of power dues in time by Gridco, the bulk purchaser of power for the State.
Besides, hydro power generated by OHPC is the cheapest source of electricity which has kept tariff rate low for the consumers.
Since Gridco is another State PSU, the OHPC is not allowed to take any drastic action against it.
Similarly, three of the eight units of Balimela hydro power station, with a generating capacity of 195 mw, remained non-functional due to problem in thrust bearings, while one unit of Upper Kolab is under annual maintenance.
"Ideally, all the power generating units should have been kept in readiness to avoid such wastage of water. Lack of planning and maintenance of the old units contributed to the massive loss of cheap hydro power to the State," Gridco sources said.
The corporation is sustaining huge loss due to prolonged shutdown of these units. The expected rainfall in the State after formation of another low pressure has brightened hopes for improved water level in the reservoirs, where restriction has been imposed on the release of water resulting in the power crisis.
Source- Indian Express