The company, which relies almost solely on imported fuel, said fuel costs fell nearly 2% in the quarter to R1,048 crore owing to weak international coal prices. Adjusting for depreciation in the rupee, fuel costs would have been down 8%. Weakness in the rupee resulted in a forex loss of R61 crore in the quarter.
The fall in fuel costs is in stark contrast to the trend of rising costs of fuel in the industry, which has been forced to increase imports as a result of shortages of coal and gas in the country.
The company, which has an operational capacity of 2600 MW, also benefited from higher generation and utilization at its power plants in Vijayanagar, Ratnagiri and Barmer.At Vijayanagar, Karnataka, plant load factor or the percentage of capacity utilised increased to 102% versus 85% in the year ago quarter. Power generated increased at the plant to 1,789 million units, from 1,486 million units a year earlier.
Power generation at the company's plant in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra increased to 2,132 million units from 1921 million units last year, as PLF rose five percentage points to 88%. The company's Barmer plant in Rajasthan generated 849 million units versus 558 million units last year at a PLF of 81%.Merchant sales in the quarter were 2,616 million units, or 54% of total sales, while long-term PPA accounted for 42% of total sales at 2,043 million units. Selling electricity on a merchant basis primarily to industrial customers has helped shield the company from tariff renegotiation issues that have hurt many other independent power producers. However, JSW Energy is trying to sell more power under long-term agreements as merchant prices could come under pressure from more generating capacity opening up in the country. JSW Energy recently received an enviromental clearance for its 240-MW hydropower project at Kutehr, Himachal Pradesh, and is in the process of acquiring land. The company expects the project to cost R2,000 crore and it had already spent R214 crore on developing the plant at the end of 2012.The company is also scouting for coal blocks in South Africa and Indonesia as it looks to source coal for its power plants in India, its CEO and joint managing director Sanjay Sagar told FE earlier this month. JSW Energy's consolidated debt at the end of the year was R10,158 crore, while net worth was R6,269 crore, resulting in a debt to equity ratio of 1.62 times.
JSW Energy's finance chief Pramod Menon expressed confidence that the company would be able to raise funds for its expansion and fuel security plans.