India lost 15 billion units of power generation in the quarter ended December due to short supply of natural gas to run power plants, according to power ministry data. The loss amounted to more than 5 per cent of the planned quarterly power production of 295 billion units from conventional sources.
According to fresh data released by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the power ministry's technical and planning wing, power plants received only 28.6 per cent of the total allocated gas in October. The supply dropped to 27.1 per cent in November and 26.6 per cent in December.
The government had allotted gas supply of 9,527 million standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) to gas-based projects for the three months period ended December but supply stood at a mere 2,609 mmscmd or 28 per cent.
The projects which suffered the highest level of loss belonged to the private sector. The cumulative generation loss from private companies and Independent Power Producers during the quarter stood at 13 billion units.
Experts say the development highlights difficult days for gas-based power generation companies. "It is a difficult situation for gas-based power plants because the quantity of domestic gas available today is very small. If the domestic gas is not available, producers can use imported gas. In that case, the cost of power becomes uncompetitive," Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President, ICRA said.
Data shows Torrent Power suffered the highest generation loss for among private companies. Its 1,200 Megawatt DGEN Mega Power Plant has been losing close to 890 million units of power every month. Torrent Power's two other gas based power plants – 1,147 MW SUGEN Mega Power Plant and 382 MW UNOSUGEN – have also registered loses due to lack of gas.
Among all the projects, NTPC and Gail-owned Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL) suffered the highest level of loss during the December quarter. The plant lost an average 950 million units every month during Oct-Dec. The Ratnagiri plant has a monthly gas allocation of 10.93 MMSCMD and it has been receiving around 2.3 MMSCMD gas every month.