Gujarat Electricity Board To Maximise Efficiency Of Power Plants

Ahmedabad, May 30: | Updated: May 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
The heat and dust generated by the communal riots and the weather gods notwithstanding, riot-battered Gujarat seems to have weathered the worst of the peak season demand without undue hardships imposed on the urban customer largely on account of some deft handling by the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) even as neighbouring Maharashtra reels in the throes of a major power crisis.

Speaking to The Financial Express, a top GEB official revealed that the state electricity board has taken steps to maximise the efficiency of its power plants which are curently running at an impressive 75 per cent PLF (plant load factor). These include the Wanakapori, Gandhinagar and Ukai plants as also the gas-based Uttaran power plant which are together supplying around 3000 MW of power to the state.

What has also come to the assistance of the GEB is the timely action taken by the state government in removing the 17.5 per cent sales tax on naphtha used for power generation till June 30, 2002 by which time the demand-supply scenario would have eased considerably with the advent of the monsoons. Coupled with the excise relief which has already been granted to two independent power producers in the state namely Essar Power and GIPCL by the Centre on naphtha used for power generation, buying power from these IPPs has become considerably more cheaper for us, said a GEB source.

According to him, power purchased from Essar and GIPCL currently works out around Rs 2.75 per unit compared to the earlier price of over Rs 3 per unit. At present, GEB is purchasing around 450 MW of power from these two power plants.

However, the state electricity board has not initiated purchases from the Pagathuan-based 650 MW GPEC plant which has recently been taken over by the Hong Kong-based China Light and Power (CLP) in view of the prohibitive cost of power produced by the plant which has still not been accorded excise relief on naphtha by the Centre.

Even without purchase of power from this plant, we are managing, said a GEB source. This is largely because public-sector NTPC is supplying the state around 1,600 MW of power following the amicable resolution of the face-off between GEB and NTPC with the Gujarat government entering a tripartite agreement with the NTPC and the Centre as also upgrading its LOC (letter of credit) to Rs 160 crore. Apart from that, power supply to rural areas is being regulated to an eight-hour, three phase supply and since the agricultural load is minimal at this time of the year, power is being supplied in 15 hour single phases as well to the rural areas without subjecting urban areas to any kind of load shedding thus far. When asked about whether the state had received requests to divert power to neighbouring Maharashtra to ease the power situation there, GEB oficials said the question did not arise since we do not have any surplus at all.