Admitting that its big industrial consumers have opted for open access electricity supply, the state-owned power distribution company MSEDCL blamed it on the expensive power generated by another company Mahagenco (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company). The state also conceded that it had wrongly estimated the future use of power in the past and indiscriminately granted permissions to set up power plants. The result was that it had to shut down its own plants owing to excess electricity. "Any distribution company depends on the consumer base. In open access, the power is available at Rs 3.70 per unit while the state's power costs around Rs 6.30 to Rs 6.40 per unit. We were supplying 30,000 million units (MU) electricity to the industries of which 6,000 MU have gone to open access," chairman and managing director of MSEDCL Sanjeev Kumar said.
Pointing at earlier miscalculation of the 'required future power supply', Mr Kumar said that the industrial growth had stagnated and hence, the power required was less. On the other hand, agriculture consumers have gone up in the state.
Intending to get back their industrial consumers, Mr Kumar said, "We have to work towards reducing losses and improve our services." Currently, the state has 18.47 per cent of Aggregate Technical and Commercial losses (AT & C).
The state has allegedly lost 500 industrial consumers and activists have claimed that consumers such as Raymonds, railways and Bharat Forge opted for open access.
The state had also forged power purchase contracts with private companies in the past. Now, the companies have started generating power but in the absence of demand, the state is forced to buy their power keeping its own plants shut. Thus, the state is finding it difficult to overcome the deadlock, as it would have to go before the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to ask for amending the power purchase agreements with the companies.
"It was necessary to have a power purchase agreement for 25 years in the past without which none of the private companies would have come to the state to develop thermal plants. The Indian power market has been structured like that. However, the predicted growth could not be achieved and now we are a surplus power state. Many power stations have been kept shut. The state either needs to approach MERC to reconsider the agreement or talk with the companies," the chairman said.
The state has been forced to shut down its own power plants that generate about 6,379 megawatts of electricity due to excess availability of power. The activists in the power sector have approached the MERC, asking to revoke the agreements with the private companies so that the state-owned power could be utilised.
Source- Asian Age