Prafulla Das

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 8

AMERICAN power major AES Corporation, which has joint ventures with Orissa Power Generation Corporation at Ib Valley, is all set to bid for new power projects in the country. The company is bidding to develop the 1,000-MW Anpara C thermal power project in Uttar Pradesh in keeping with its expansion plan.

According to Mr A. Srinivas Rao, Business Leader of AES (India) Private Ltd, the company has now decided to focus on India as a key market in its growth plans as 40 power projects were due for commissioning during the Tenth Plan period.

"In view of a projected requirement of 40,000 MW of power in the country, AES is open to set up generation units in any other State coming up with a bid,'' Mr Rao told Business Line.

The Electricity Act, 2003 encourages competition in the power industry and the company is actively exploring options to consolidate its operations both in generation and distribution segments, he said.

As many as eight companies had bid for the Anpara C power project, and AES is among those short-listed for the work.

A final decision in the matter by the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd is expected in the first quarter of the next fiscal, starting April 1. The project, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore, is targeted to be commissioned in 48 months.

AES has been instrumental in turning OPGC into the highest dividend paying corporation in Orissa. It is operating at a plant load factor (PLF) of 83 per cent, which is in sharp contrast to its pre-disinvestment PLF of around 63 per cent in 1997-98.

AES came to Orissa in 1998 when the State invited international bidders to disinvest the Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) following implementation of its Electricity Reform Act, 1995. AES, which holds 49 per cent of shares in OPGC, manages the corporation's two generation units, each with a capacity of 210 MW.

Further, the company has started the process of setting up of two more units of 250 MW each at the Ib Thermal Power Station. The expansion project of OPGC would cost Rs 2,000 crore. The foundation stone for the expansion was laid by the Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik, last year. The expansion work will be completed by 2007-08.

AES had also entered the power distribution business in Orissa. It was running the joint venture company, Central Electricity Company (CESCO), since June 1999.

However, it has been out of the CESCO management since 2001 and the company is now being managed by the State Government. However, AES officials are hopeful of the company soon returning to CESCO management.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 9, 2005)
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