Power minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said his ministry was looking at making regulatory changes to enable public sector entity Power Grid to hive off some of its operational assets and use the liquidity for future projects.
Goyal also announced the government would allow swapping of coal among government and private firms. In May, the government had allowed coal swapping among central and state-owned power plants to bring in operational efficiency.
Government officials, however, said the proposal for hiving off Power Grid assets was still at a conceptual stage and any further development would require an extensive study of various options. “Although Power Grid is a AAA+ rated company, which allows it to raise capital from the market at a very reasonable rate, we are looking at the option of unlocking the capital from the firm’s operational assets,” power secretary PK Pujari said.
Currently, Power Grid has accumulated gross fixed assets worth R1.5 lakh crore. The company has been investing over R20,000 crore as capital expenditure each year in the last few years and is expected to spend R25,000 crore in the current fiscal.
To facilitate the coal swapping, Goyal launched “Coal Mitra” web portal, which would indicate the most efficient way of utilising coal from by an end-user. The portal would be used by the state and central generation companies to display information about normative fixed and variable charges of electricity for the previous month as well as margin available for additional generation to enable the utilities in identifying stations for transfer of coal.
“It would host data on operational and financial parameters of each coal based station; quantity and source of supply coal to the power plant; and distance of power plant form the coal mine,” the government said in a statement.