Bihar’s power supply situation is set for major improvement beginning the coming fiscal. The State is currently offered a mere 900 MW by the central sector to meet an estimated daily domestic demand of 2,000 MW . The result: Large parts of the State — outside the capital Patna (which needs 400 MW) — run on diesel generators.

But, all that is set to change . According to a senior State official, Bihar is expecting average grid supplies to improve by approximately 600-700 MW in 2013.

The bulk of the additional supply will come from the upcoming 2 X 660 MW Barh-II thermal power station of NTPC. “Both the units at Barh-II are expected to be operational between June and December this year,” the official said. Bihar will get 50 per cent share of the generation.

Apart from central supplies, the State is also on course to re-commissioning approximately 345 MW of own capacity, at Barauni and Muzaffarpur, through an extensive renovation and modernisation project in joint venture with NTPC. All the units had turned defunct due to years of neglect.

At least 750 MW more in own capacity is proposed to be implemented in the coming years.

Bidding for coal

Three new super critical projects of 2 X 660 MW each are lined up at Chausa, Kajra and Pirpainti to bid for coal blocks currently on offer. Of the three, Chausa is proposed to be built in joint venture with SJVN Ltd. NHPC has expressed interest in Kajra. And, both these companies have expressed interest in Pirpainti.

“The centre has invited bids from the power sector for 14 coal blocks, latest by January 31. While SJVN will bid for Chausa, the Bihar Government will bid for blocks to fuel two more supercritical projects and the proposed 2 X 250 MW Barauni extension projects,” the official said.

Applications have also been forwarded for fresh fuel supply agreements (FSA) with Coal India for coal supply to the 110 MW renovated Barauni unit to be commissioned in December.

Distribution revamp

Meanwhile, the State has unbundled its electricity board into two distribution companies on both sides of Ganges, and one company each for transmission and generation.

The newly-formed transmission company (Bihar Grid Co), in joint venture with Powergrid, proposed to undertake a Rs 6,500-crore project to revamp the dilapidated transmission system in the State in the next five years. The project has already been cleared by the Central Electricity Authority and is awaiting approval of the Planning Commission.

This is over and above the ongoing Rs 365-crore project (under Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana) to strengthen the dilapidated transmission and distribution infrastructure. Undertaken by the SEB, bulk of the project will be completed in March, this year.

On the distribution side, a full scale electrification programme is under implementation in 71 towns. Of the total, seven towns have been adopted by the Asian Development Bank.

pratim.bose@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 20, 2013)
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