NTPC, Orissa lock horns over Talcher power

Written by Dilip Bisoi | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Jul 1 2009, 04:09am hrs
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Orissa government are headed for a showdown over who should get power from Talcher after expansion.

The power PSU, which bought over the 460 mw Talcher unit from the Orissa government in 1993, is planning to ramp up the capacity by adding two super critical units of 660 mw each with an investment of Rs 5,000 crore. However, the state is insisting that the entire power from the 1,360-mw expansion project be dedicated to the state grid.

At present, the NTPC is supplying the 350-mw power produced at Talcher to the state grid as per the agreement signed at the time of sale of the plant. Citing this, the state government is claiming that after expansion too, the entire power should be supplied to the state. However, NTPC insists that since the agreement is silent about the expansion capacity, it is not bound to dedicate the power to the state. Moreover, after the enforcement of the Electricity Act, 2003, NTPC is free to sell power anywhere in the country, the central utility claims.

Even as both are in talks over the dispute, the state government has threatened that it will not provide water to the project unless NTPC agrees to supply power to the state.

State energy secretary PK Jena downplayed the row, saying, we are discussing the power-sharing issue. But he pointed out that since Orissa is facing a severe power crisis, it wont be prudent on our part to forgo the power from the expansion project.