• MSEGCL, MSEDCL at loggerheads over Rs 10,000-crore dues

    •    Source: PTI, The Financial Express /Mumbai, 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


      State-run power utilities Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Company (MSEGCL) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) are at loggerheads over delayed payment charges to the tune of over Rs 10,000 crore by the latter. MSEGCL chairman and managing director Bipin Shrimali while talking to reporters Monday alleged that while MSEDCL makes prompt payments to other private players as well as the NTPC, it has delayed the payments over so many years.

      “MSEDCL owes us over Rs 10,000 crore accumulated over the past 7-8 years. MSEDCL makes payments to other players but gives differential treatment us,” he said. He further said in the last three years, the cost of generation of MSEGCL has not increased, but on the contrary, reduced to Rs 3.70 per unit.

      “There are several constraints while recovering from a state company and still continue to keep the generation cost lower. We have to make prompt payments for buying coal and also to railways for transporting the fuel, but we are not getting our due,” said Shrimali.

      Refuting the allegations, state discom MSEDCL’s chairman and managing director, Sanjeev Kumar, said, “We have no intention of not making payments to them.

      It’s a matter of delayed payment charges which is pending with the state government and MSEB Holding Company.” He further explained that as per the directives of the state government, MSEDCL has to keep aside the delayed payment charges and the interest while recovering arrears from the consumers.

      “Though the charges show on MSEGCL’s books of account as pending by us, we are not able to make the payment because of the government’s directive.

      Recently a resolution was passed that we should ask the government to come up with a solution over this,” added Kumar.

      When asked why MSEGCL was not considering selling off its thermal plants which are either temporarily shut or not running at desired plant load factor (PLF) due to lack of coal or water, among others, Shrimali said, “Thermal is a moving economy.

      Plants like those in Bhusawal, Nashik or Parali are decentralised power generating units and we cannot shut or sell them.” He further said that some of these plants are necessary for the sustainability of the local economy and therefore, it is necessary to continue with decentralised power generation.

      When asked whether the company was planning to sell its excess power to other states or utilities, he said, “We have been asking the MERC as well as the state government to allow us to sell power outside. As per the PPA provisions, we can sell 15 per cent of power, but MSEDCL is not allowing us to do it. We have already received trading license and we have also floated expression of interest for this.”

      Shrimali further added that MSEGCL sells power to MSEDCL at Rs 3.70 per unit and the state discom then charges around Rs 6 per unit to consumers.

      “However, if we get the permission to sell, we will be able to give it at a cheaper rate than MSEDCL, may be at Rs 5-5.50 per unit. We will be in a better position to manage our working capital requirements well if we are able to make money through this route,” he added.


  • Higher demand pushes spot power price to eight-year high of Rs 14.08/unit

    •    Source: PTI, The Financial Express /New Delhi, 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


      Spot power prices Monday touched over eight-year high of Rs 14.08 per unit in the day ahead market (DAM) on Indian Energy Exchange, mainly driven by higher demand. “Spot power price for supply on Tuesday touched over five year high of Rs 14.08 per unit in trading at Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) today,” a source said. The previous high was recorded at Rs 13.90 per unit in April 2010.

      The source said, “The electricity price surged in the DAM at the IEX due to higher demand and lower supplies as there were buy bids for 265 million units (MU) against sell bids of 200 MU in the trading held today at IEX”. The source said the demand surged at the IEX due to lower wind and hydro power generation coupled with persistent coal shortages at the power plants. The source also told the PTI that due to shortage of coal at independent power plants and captive power plants, the captive users beeline in DAM to meet their requirement.

      The spot power prices have touched a high of Rs 12.95 per unit on Sunday for supply on Monday at DAM on IEX due the similar reason. The demand was 298 MU while the supply was 192 MU on Sunday. Earlier this year in May, the price of spot power price had touched about five-year high of Rs 11.41 per unit after starved captive power producers started buying power at exchanges.

      The government had decided in May to augment coal supplies to centre/ state power plants and independent power producers (IPPs) from May 19 to June 30 to overcome shortage of the dry fuel and check power crisis. The decision was taken in a joint meeting of power, coal and railways ministries on May 17, 2018.

      The source said the captive power producers are still grappling with the issue of coal supplies at their power plants. The captive power producers generate electricity for their own manufacturing facilities like steel, cement and others.



  • Gujarat discovers Rs 2.44/unit solar tariff in latest auction

    •    Source: Anupam Chatterjee, The Financial Express /New Delhi, 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


       The latest reverse auction for 500 MW capacity of solar power in Gujarat has discovered tariff of Rs 2.44/unit, matching the lowest-ever rate in the country for the fourth time after it was first found in May 2017 for Rajasthan’s Bhadla projects.

      According to sources in the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam, Aditya Birla Renewables secured 100 MW solar development project by quoting the lowest bid, which was matched by Giriraj Renewables to win 300 MW. Azure Power won 100 MW by quoting Rs 2.45/unit.

      This is the second time the state conducted auctions for this tender after it had cancelled the tender in April as it found the tariffs “discovered were on the higher side”.

      The lowest tariff discovered in the first auction in March was Rs 2.98 per unit. When the first bids took place, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had not amended the bidding norms for solar projects, and it was then not clear to developers whether or not all indirect taxes (such as safeguard duty) could be a pass-through under the “change in law” provision.

      Ahmedabad-based Kalthia Engineering was the lowest bidder in the previous round, while the other winners were Gujarat State Electricity Corporation, ACME and Azure Power.

      About 4 GW of recent solar bids were scrapped due to higher price discoveries, including a 1 GW auction called by Uttar Pradesh. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) also cancelled 2,400 MW bids from the 3,000 MW solar auction held in July. Only Acme Solar’s 600 MW bid was not scrapped from the latter auction as the company had quoted the lowest tariff of Rs 2.44/unit. The same tariff was also discovered in the reverse auction for 2,000 MW capacity conducted by the SECI earlier in July.

      Gujarat is one of the few states over the last two or three years, where the actual payment cycle by distribution utilities to renewable power producers is within the prescribed timelines. It has one of the best solar radiation-receiving areas in the country, experts said.


  • Mytrah Energy signs PPA for 300 MW wind power with SECI in Tamil Nadu

    •    Source: Rishi Kumar, The Hindu Business Line/ Hyderabad, 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


      Offers tariff of Rs 2.52/kwh, 11 firms take part in reverse bidding

      Independent power producer Mytrah Energy (India) has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for setting up a 300 MW wind power plant in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.

      The winning bid for 300 MW of capacity of Mytrah was part of the fourth tranche of SECI wind reverse auctions where eleven companies participated. In the reverse bidding, collectively they submitted quotes for a cumulative capacity of 2633.2 MW. Mytrah quoted a tariff of Rs 2.52/kwh for its winning bid.

      Vikram Kailas, VC and MD of Mytrah Energy, in a statement said, “This win marks another success in Mytrah Energy’s continuing journey towards building a strong, well-diversified portfolio of wind power assets. This round of auctions further reinforces the continuing commitment towards renewable power sector while contributing towards a greener tomorrow.”

      Projects awarded under Tranche IV of the SECI auctions have to be commissioned within eighteen months from the effective date of the PPA and not the date of the Letter of Award. Developers have welcomed this change since it aligns more closely with the project execution schedule.

      Mytrah Energy (India) has over 40 projects (operational and under-development) in the wind and solar power segments across nine Indian states with an aggregate capacity of 2.2 GW.

      The company also has a fast-growing portfolio of rooftop solar projects across the country.


  • Power prices surge to a record on higher demand

    •    Source: Utpal Bhaskar, Live mint /New Delhi, 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


      Electricity spot prices in India surged to a more than eight-year high because of lower quantum of traded power, higher demand amid a retreating monsoon, which has also forced power sellers such as Telangana to turn buyers.

      Prices touched 14.08 per unit for Tuesday on the India Energy Exchange (IEX). It was the highest since April 2010 when spot prices rose to 13.90 per unit. The all-time high for electricity in the spot market was 17 per unit in April 2009, according to IEX.

      Lower generation from hydro and wind power projects, and rise in humidity and temperatures contributed to the rise in electricity spot prices for Tuesday delivery.

      According to IEX, the average price for Tuesday is 6.53 per unit with only 200 million units (MUs) of electricity being offered to be supplied on the exchange as compared with a demand for 266 MUs. The Economic Times newspaper on Monday reported about electricity price in spot market soaring to a record of 12.95 per unit on Sunday, while the peak hour price touched 8.78 a unit.

      According to IEX, some of the large sellers such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Meghalaya brought lower amounts of electricity for sale. Also, state power distribution companies in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar and West Bengal are buying power at higher rates to meet rising demand.

      Power distributors have been the weakest link in the electricity value chain given their poor payment history. A power exchange functions on the lines of commodity exchanges and provides a platform for buyers, sellers and traders of electricity to enter into spot contracts for the same day, coming day, and on a weekly basis.

      Of about 1,200 billion units (BU) of electricity generated in India, the short-term market comprises about 130-150BU. This trade volume has grown by about 10% annually and is currently valued at about 22,124 crore.

      According to IEX, the average price for Sunday was 6.30 per unit on account of only 192 million units (MUs) of electricity being supplied on the exchange as compared to demand for 298 MUs. The average and maximum spot prices have been increasing since September, said Rajesh Kumar Mediratta, director, business development at IEX.

      “Given the high electricity prices, the stressed power generation assets shall source coal and supply electricity to the market. In September, generally wind and hydro power generation comes down. Also, with the monsoon receding, humidity and temperature goes up leading to an increase in demand,” Mediratta said.

      According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the monsoon has started to show signs of weakening with reduced rainfall over north-western states. While the withdrawal of monsoon from North-West India can begin anytime after 1 September, scientists highlight that it was delayed due to a depression over the Bay of Bengal, which moved up to Rajasthan and brought rainfall over north-western states.

      India’s power demand is expected to grow with the government’s focus of providing “24x7 clean and affordable power for all” by March 2019. The government has also been exploring steps to boost electricity demand, even as the power sector remains one of the highly stressed sectors, with close to Rs1 trillion of loans having turned bad or recast.

      This also comes at a time when the government seeks to make all consumer categories pay the same tariff for the same volume of electricity consumed, if they have the same load and voltage, according to the draft amendments in the tariff policy. Effectively, consumer categories such as commercial, domestic, agricultural, industrial and institutional may be brought at par.

      The government is working on an ambitious plan to provide induction stoves to poor households. Also, the 16,320 crore Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya), launched last year to provide electricity connections to more than 40 million families by December 2018, will require an additional 28,000MW of power, considering an average load of 1 kilowatt (kW) per household for eight hours in a day.


  • Maharashtra: Pay electricity bills on time or sit in the dark, says official

    •    Source: Abhilash Botekar, ETEnergyWorld / 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


      Chief engineer of the Nashik zone of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), B K Janvir, has decided that the only way to deter theft of electricity is to impose punishment on the guilty.

      In an interview to TOI, he outlined his plans, which include disconnection of power supply to those defaulting on paying electricity bills.

      Which area of Nashik is notorious for power theft?

      Ahmednagar district (circle) in Nashik zone has a high number of cases. Losses are particularly high in areas of Karjat, Jammkhed and other parts of the rural Ahmednagar. We find it hard to identify the people responsible. Our flying squads are doing their job, but a lot remains to be done.

      What do you plan to overcome this problem?

      The menace of theft is growing because many of those responsible are powerful and there is fear to act against them. There is need to ensure that those responsible do not get away scot-free.

      We also need to equip our officers with knowledge of the powers they hold and company rules; there are also penal provisions, in case they fail to ensure action.

      What action do you propose against wrong doers?

      We have proposed strict action against employees and officials who take no action when they find cases of power theft.

      If a certain number of cases of theft are reported in a stipulated period, the concerned officer will face action, whether issuing of a memo, calling for explanation, marking the issue in the Career Record, or even suspension, depending on the gravity of the situation.

      What about power theft in consumer premises?

      We have set a target for every officer, to ensure that he unearths cases of theft. Every month the officer will have to register at least ten power thefts that will stand in a court of law.

      We have inputs of the quantity of power going into the area and quantity of power billed.

      Quantum of power theft is defined. So every section engineer has to catch at least ten power thefts every month till power theft comes to zero.

      How will the thefts be monitored?

      We have proposed for the squads that will go into different areas without warning.

      Theft will be recorded by the squad, and there will be negative marking on the performance of the officer of that area. The proposal is with the headquarters.

      What are the measures being taken for recovery?

      It is clear that our line-staff tries to play Good Samaritan and helps consumers who default on bill payment.  Firstly, we will bill the consumer for the investment in raw material done one-and-half month prior.

      We will ask our line-staff to disconnect power if bills are not paid. Power supply will be restored once the bills are paid.

      There will be no case of recovery thereafter from that consumer and so the issue of arrears does not arise. Of the 4,600 line-staff, half will soon be engaged in disconnection drive.



  • Lenders knock at NCLT door against GVK Power

    •    Source: ET Now, ETEnergyWorld/New Delhi, 18th September 2018 Published on : 18th September 2018


      GVK Power and Infrastructure is facing lenders' heat. A consortium of creditors has taken the infrastructure company to the bankruptcy court for debt resolution involving its Goindwal Sahib asset, say sources.

      The group of lenders led by IDBI Bank has moved NCLT Hyderabad seeking insolvency proceedings against the GVK Power and Infra arm, ETNow reported. The insolvency plea, which flowed from RBI's February 12 circular, was filed before the Supreme Court gave its verdict on NPAs on all such assets.

      GVK Power Goindwal Sahib is a 540-MW thermal power project. The total debt load of the company stood at Rs 12,885 crore in 2017-18.