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Discoms can buy surplus power from captive units: MERC

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Sept. 8

THE Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission has allowed distribution companies to buy surplus power available with captive generation units.

The commission has passed the order, which will help reduce power cuts that have plagued the State in the last few months because of a 1,500-MW demand-supply gap during peak hours.

Maharashtra had close to 46 captive power plants in March 2001. Besides, the State electricity board had sanctioned 33 additional projects taking the total capacity to 883 MW. There is a surplus capacity between 270 MW and 320 MW available for sale to MSEB or any other distribution company during this Plan period.

CPPs can sell up to 49 per cent installed capacities, or 75 per cent unused capacities. In case the CPP cannot supply power because of a planned or unplanned shutdown, it will have to pay demand charges to maintain stability of the grid and to bring discipline in the operation of the CPPs.

According to the MERC order, distribution companies can buy power from power plants that run on oil, gas or coal at a minimum Rs 2.30 and maximum Rs 4 per unit. The rate of power purchased will be based on availability-based tariff that is linked to the grid frequency at the time power is injected into the grid. Also, a distinction has been made between guaranteed supply and un-guaranteed power supply to determine tariff.

A 25 per cent surcharge has been levied on the total cross-subsidy of the distribution licensees. The energy purchase, wheeling and banking agreements with the companies buying power from CPPs should be valid for between three to five years, the order said.

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