Even as their suburban cousins continue to sweat due to power cuts, people in South Mumbai, the commercial capital’s upmarket area, may be spared during the peak summer months.
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (Best) Undertaking, the licensee supplying electricity to the island city of Mumbai, is in talks with the NTPC Ltd to buy 100MW of power in the crucial summer months to meet the rise in demand of power.
“We have already held a meeting with the authorities concerned in Delhi to purchase additional power. The power could be priced at double the price we pay to Tata Power Company (around Rs3 per unit) for the (800MW) power we buy from it. But we could pass this on to consumers,” said Uttam Khobragade, general manager, BEST. BEST, an arm of the country’s richest municipal corporation, Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika, will therefore, have no problem in paying for the higher cost. While the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) is still finalizing its policy on load shedding, a few localities in suburban Mumbai such as Mulund and Bhandup are already facing three-four hours of load shedding.
BEST will, however, need to take regulatory consent for purchasing the power and for passing along the cost to the consumer. Pramod Deo, chairman of MERC, says: “We are still in process of finalizing tariff orders. That will also cover the distribution companies long- term and short-term purchase agreements.”
BEST supplies electricity to 8.2 lakh consumers from Colaba in the southern tip of Mumbai to the suburb of Mahim on the western part of the city and to Sion on the other side of the city. The rest of Mumbai is supplied by Reliance Energy Ltd and Tata Power Company (TPC).
Mumbai currently consumes around 2,200MW of power— TPC supplies 1,777MW of power and Reliance Energy Ltd supplies 500MW. During summers, power demand in the city rises around 10% to touch 2,504.7MW. If the demand goes up by 10% during the summer months, the city will need 200MW more.
TPC is also expected to source an additional 50MW from its Jojobera (Jharkhand) plant to supply to Mumbai. The company has also purchased second-hand, dual fuel-fired power Wartsila plants from China. The unit, which is being set up at Khopoli, will produce another 50MW of power for Mumbai.