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Odisha wants swapping of NTPC power to save Rs 5 billion every year

BS Reporter/ 14 Sep 18 | 05:30 AM

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Burdened with steep tariffs on power from NTPC plants located outside Odisha, the state government has appealed to the Union Power Ministry to swap it with power sourced from the central power utility's plants located inside the state. The power swapping could help the state save up to Rs 5 billion each year for the next 25 years.

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Odisha has been making a feverish pitch to the Centre to de-allocate costly power from NTPC projects where power sourcing costs exceed Rs 5 per unit, pressuring the retail tariffs for consumers.

“Odisha has been allocated high-cost NTPC power from neighbouring states such as Barh-I (418 Mw) and Barh-II (166 Mw) which is likely to cost more than Rs 5 per unit, leading to high retail tariffs for consumers. We have been requesting Ministry of Power for surrender of this expensive power and its swapping with NTPC power from Kaniha and Talcher", the state's minister for energy Susanta Singh wrote to R K Singh, Union minister for power and new & renewable energy.

If Odisha's plea for swapping of power is not entertained, the state would end up paying Rs 5 billion every year for 25 years.

Singh said, an enormous financial burden of Rs 120 billion on the power consumers could be averted if the Government of India agreed with the suggestions made by the state government.

The minister also sought to clear the air on his government's stand on the next stage expansion of NTPC's Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS). The minister said that the state government had been actively assisting all NTPC projects from land acquisition to forestry & environment clearance and power evacuation.

“The TTPS has also been similarly facilitated by the Odisha government as a result of which several statutory clearances could be obtained by NTPC. The chief secretary has also reviewed the progress of the project in a meeting held on July 28, 2018 wherein senior officials of NTPC were also present, he said in the letter.

Barely two days back, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship  Dharmendra Pradhan faulted the Odisha government for not approving the TTPS expansion. “Unfortunately, NTPC is still awaiting approval of the HLC (High Level Committee) despite applying online for single window clearance on April 19, 2017. Lack of requisite clearance for such big ticket projects even after a lapse of more than 15 months will dampen the investment climate in Odisha and send a wrong signal to the investor community", Pradhan rued in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Odisha's energy minister, however, alleged that NTPC had hiked its tariff projections from the first years of operations at TTPS.

“The tariff of power indicated by NTPC for the first year of operations is in the range of Rs 3.40 per unit which is much higher than Rs 2.70 per unit included in the review meeting held by the chief secretary. NTPC may also confirm the evacuation of power from TTPS through state transmission network so that Odisha is not subject to payment of very high transmission charges of PGCIL which are likely in the range of Rs 0.60 to Rs 0.80 per unit when the plant becomes operational, Singh stated in his letter.

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