NEW DELHI: Can the Capital go from being a city of chronic electricity shortages to a seller of surplus power within just three years?
What seems like a pipedream would very much come true by 2010, insists the Delhi government. So much so, it is already counting on the money it will get from selling the surplus power—estimated to be around 1,150 megawatts (MW), enough to light up 500 football stadia.
Considering Delhi has a power shortage of at least 300MW, or nearly 10% of its current needs of 3,200MW, where will this surplus come from?
Delhi’s electricity requirement for 2010, when the Commonwealth Games come to the metro city, is expected to be around 6,000MW.
The supply is expected to grow even faster, to 7,150MW. Going by the government’s plans, the Capital’s power supply will be further expanded to 9,460MW a year later.
Rakesh Mehta, Delhi’s power secretary, quickly rattles off a long list of sources from where the additional power will come by 2010.
“While 2,000MW will be generated from our own gas-based plants in the city, around 2,600MW will be sourced from the Damodar Valley Corporation, 750MW from Haryana, 800 MW from the Tehri Hydro Power Corporation, 200MW from the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, 200MW from Bhutan, and around 600MW from the National Thermal Power Corporation’s power stations,” he said.
The additional power will not come cheap. These projects, which include Delhi expanding its own capacity as well as teaming up with other providers outside the state, will require an investment of Rs23,840 crore.
Delhi plans to contribute Rs5,000 crore or 21%.
Since Delhi has firm commitments to get this power from the suppliers, at what it estimates will be about Rs2.75 per unit, the state is hoping it can sell the surplus to more needy states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, for up to Rs5 a unit. The state government is therefore eyeing a cool Rs5,000 crore from the surplus power sales.
“Procuring power at Rs2.75 per unit is a realistic figure, but the present shortage will also grow at a yearly rate of around 6% to 8%. So the exact power surplus with the government in 2010 is left to be seen,” notes Hiranyava Bhadra of accounting and consulting firm, KPMG.
However, selling the surplus for Rs5 a unit may not really happen, he says. That is because a recent order by the Appellate Tribunal puts a Re0.04 cap per unit on any intra-state electricity trades, potentially limiting the profit margins on the power that Delhi wants to sell.
The major reason why the state continues to suffer from power shortages is because only about 995MW of Delhi’s average demand of around 3,200MW is generated by plants owned by the Delhi government. This leaves the state vulnerable, especially, in peak usage periods, when all other states are also scrambling tobuy power.