New Delhi: India’s largest electricity producer NTPC Ltd, a major stakeholder in the Dabhol power plant in Maharashtra, will appoint an independent agency to be part of the investigation GE Energy, a division of US-based General Electric Co., will carry out on the turbines it supplied to the project.
The state-owned power utility says the turbines GE supplied are defective, resulting in frequent breakdowns.
“NTPC has insisted that there should be an independent party involved in the entire exercise at the time of the root cause analysis to be carried out on the turbines. GE has agreed to the demand,” said Rakesh Nath, chairman of India’s Central Electricity Authority.
“We are in the process of appointing a consultant. It will probably be an international consultant with experience in turbine design, metallurgy, etc.,” said a senior NTPC executive, who did not want to be named.
A GE spokesperson said, “We are working with the relevant authorities to make the plant operational within the given timeline. We have a team of experts working on the project and all necessary support is being provided to ensure successful completion.”
“The only way to resolve this dispute is to appoint an independent agency. Otherwise it would be GE’s word against NTPC’s. NTPC has a very strong case,” said a New Delhi-based analyst, who did not wish to be identified citing commercial considerations.
The project, previously called the Dabhol Power Co., was renamed Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd after it was taken over by a combine of public sector banks, the Maharashtra government, GAIL India Ltd, NTPC, and some financial institutions.
NTPC and GAIL each hold 28.33% stake in the company, followed by the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, which owns 15%. Lenders that include IDBI Bank Ltd, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd, and Canara Bank, hold the rest.
India has threatened to ban GE from supplying equipment to all public sector power projects in the future, and review its alliance with the state-owned equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, or Bhel, as reported by Mint on 11 March.
The Parliament is expected to discuss the issue in its next session.
Currently, GE supplies gas turbines to Bhel. It has also transferred some technology to Bhel for which the state-sector firm pays royalty.