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AERC show-cause to power company

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, May 10 � The controversy over the DLF shutting down its Adamtilla and Baskandi power plants in the State�s Barak Valley abruptly on May 7 evening, has taken a new twist with the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) serving a show-cause notice on the power company.

It needs mention here that the power company had shut down its units around 5 pm of May 7 without serving any notice on the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB). However, it had to resume power generation on the next day evening in the face of a direction from the AERC, which acted on a complaint lodged by the ASEB.

Power engineers here observe that as the Barak Valley is covered only by a 132 Kv power transmission network, this has made the DLF power generating station vital for the valley at present. The present peak load hour power demand of the Valley is between 30 MW and 40 MW, provided the Hindustan Paper Corporation mill at Panchgram, which uses to draw around 15 MW of power, does not draw any amount of power.

Meanwhile, the AERC has fixed May 13 as the date of public hearing on the ASEB petition on fuel and power purchase adjustment (FPPA) charges. The hearing will be held at the Khanapara Administrative Staff College premises that day. The ASEB has pleaded for a hike of 18 paisa in the tariff for per unit of power as FPPA charges. The AERC has received five petitions challenging the ASEB petition on FPPA charges.

The Commission is yet to admit the main tariff petition of the ASEB filed this year.

ASEB chairman AK Sachan told The Assam Tribune here today that after the May 7 shut down of its plants, the power company had argued that the tariff granted to it by the AERC was not acceptable to it. It also demanded Rs 2.50 as the tariff for per unit of power purchased from it.

The ASEB quickly moved the AERC on the issue and the latter issued a directive to the power company to resume power generation, besides serving a show cause notice on the power company.

Sachan said that the DLF plants in the Barak Valley are ten-year-old. After ten years, fixed charge of the plants comes down drastically. Already, 90 per cent of the maximum depreciation charges of the power plants have been paid up and their interest on bank loans have also been paid up.

Hence, the ASEB chairman reasoned, the DLF tariff is also coming down and considering this the AERC has granted the power company an annual tariff of Rs 15.15 crore, which is subject to the company�s plant load factor remaining at 68.5 per cent. The amount is being paid regularly and there is no outstanding amount to be paid to the power company.

The Rs 2.50 to Rs 3.00 tariff per unit is applicable only to the power procured from the new plants, said the ASEB chairman.

The ASEB has agreement with the DLF for a period of 35 years and only ten years of that period have elapsed so far. So, the DLF is bound to go by the provisions of the agreement, said the ASEB chairman.

The DLF has an installed generation capacity of 24.5 MW in Barak Valley. But it has now been generating between 9 and 10 MW of power due to poor gas availability from the ONGCL, the ASEB chairman said

He also claimed that there is no connection, contrary to the claims made by some quarters, between the ASEB petition on FPAA charges made for the excess amount the Board had paid in 2008-09 fiscal as FPPA charges.

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