BSES Kerala To Resume Operations Next Week

Mumbai, December 22: | Updated: Dec 23 2002, 05:30am hrs
The 165-mw combined cycle power plant of BSES Kerala Power Ltd (BKPL) is likely to start operations by next week. An agreement has been reached between BKPL and Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), under which KSEB will pay an advance of Rs 9 crore against pending bills to resume operations.

This amount will be one weeks requirement of fuel charges and interest charges. KSEB has also agreed to give a two week letter of credit (LC) to BKPL as security of payments.

BSES acting chairman and managing director SS Dua said: This is a very positive development and a very important step towards making the project viable. BKPL is keeping its fingers crossed over the issue of resumption of the operations. Sources pointed out that BKPL has received a letter from the board agreeing to give an LC, however, the letter it is believed does not specify the date when the LC will be opened. Officials claim that unless a revolving, automatic and irrevocable letter of credit is not given by KSEB, there are no chances of BKPL starting the power plant.

Under the current agreement, KSEB has agreed to refer all disputes to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). KSEB has opened up the issue of commercial operations date (COD) of the open cycle on account of certain theoretical technical issues. The COD of the combined cycle plant has not been announced. These issues, sources say, can be sorted out only if the Kerala government allows the issue to be referred to CEA, which sources said is unlikely.

However, BKPL has agreed to keep the COD issue in abeyance to resume operations. The temporary settlement has been reached because of mediation by the Union power ministry.

The resumption of operations of the plant will send a positive signal to the banks and financial institutions whom the BKPL has been defaulting. BKPL officials feel that the resumption of operations at the plant will at least resolve the stalemate situation.

The total claim on KSEB from BKPL is currently Rs 173 crore, of which the fixed charges paid by BKPL alone amounts to Rs 136 crore against which no money has been received by BKPL.