Economy

PM promises solution to private power producers

Richa Mishra New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

power-producers   -  Business Line

(from right to left): Mr Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Power Ltd; Mr Ashok Khurana, Director General, Association of Power Producers; Mr Shashi Ruia, Chairman, Essar Group; Mr Ashok Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group India; Mr Ratul Puri, Chairman, Moser Baer Projects Pvt Ltd, and Mr G.V.K. Sanjay Reddy, Vice-Chairman, G V K Gautami Power Ltd, at a meeting with the Minister for Coal, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal on power sector issues in the Capital on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma   -  Business Line

Will form a Committee of Secretaries to suggest roadmap

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, assured private power developers such as the Tatas, Ambanis, Ruias, and GMR that their problems will be resolved soon. He said he would set up a Committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary at the PMO to suggest a roadmap for a time-bound solution.

Led by Mr Ratan Tata, the developers met the Prime Minister seeking urgent policy intervention to avoid idling of capacity. Issues like fuel availability and pricing, delay in environment clearances, and health of distribution companies were discussed. The developers also met some key ministers during the day in this regard.

Mr Ashok Khurana, Director-General, Association of Power Producers, said that understanding the gravity of situation, the Prime Minister has asked his senior colleagues to work out an action plan.

Fuel availability emerged the biggest risk faced by thermal power projects in India. Coal production has not kept pace with capacity addition and developers have been forced to import at a time when international coal prices have soared. The domestic power supply situation has deteriorated significantly and nearly 51 per cent of the coal-based projects are operating with less than seven days' stocks.

Availability of domestic natural gas has become scarce because of continuous drop in gas output from Reliance Industries-operated D6 fields. Most of the States are rationing power to both domestic and industrial consumers.

The producers also sought gas allocation for their yet to be commissioned gas-based power projects from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy. Mr Reddy said that a note to the Empowered Group of Ministers had already been circulated and the aspects raised by producers would again be brought to their notice. Decisions in this regard will be taken by the Empowered Group of Ministers.

Indications are that the Petroleum Ministry has suggested that gas supplies to merchant power producers – those who do not sell electricity at regulated tariff – can be stopped. The Ministry wants all existing and future allocations for plants be subject to the condition that the entire electricity produced from allocated gas shall only be sold to the distribution licensees at tariffs determined by the tariff regulator.

The Coal Minister, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal, said the Government is making all efforts to increase coal production. Production from other coal blocks is also being monitored and measures will be taken to achieve increases production from these blocks also.

>richam@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 18, 2012

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