GUWAHATI, Feb 4 � The State expects to overcome power shortage by the next summer with the availability of additional power of around 600 MW from the National Thermal Power Corporation�s (NTPC�s) Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station and the ONGC-Tripura Power Co�s Palatana Thermal Power Project.
The present shortfall in the State�s power availability is in the range of 250 MW and 300 MW, against the demand of around 1,200 MW during the summer peak load hours.
The power demand of the State is expected to go up to around 1,350 MW next summer. The annual growth rate of the State�s power demand is in the range of 8 per cent to 10 per cent, said sources in the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB).
Two units of the NTPC�s 750 MW (250 MW� 3) Bongaigaon project are expected to be commissioned by June-July next. Assam is to get 400 MW from these two units at an average cost of around Rs 3.50 to Rs 4.00 per unit.
By September next, the State also expects to get around 200 MW from the Palatana project at an average cost of Rs 4 per unit. But carrying power from this plant will also involve an additional transmission cost.
Now, the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) is procuring power at the rate of around Rs 3 per unit. It has to bear a transmission cost of 45 paisa per unit and an operation and maintenance (O&M) cost, including the employees� salaries, of Rs 1.35 per unit.
Moreover, its transmission and distribution (T&D) loss, including power theft, is around 25 per cent. In the pre-reform period (that is, 2003-�04), its T&D loss was around 45 per cent.
Now the APDCL is selling power to its consumers at an average rate of Rs 5.45 per unit, sources said. Since it will have to procure power at a higher rate from the NTPC and the ONGC�Tripura Power Company, it may have to go for a hike in the power tariff, if the State Government fails to provide succour in the form of subsidy.
However, discussion with the State Government on the issue is on, said the sources.
Meanwhile, the Rajiv Gandhi Gramya Baidyutikaran Yojana has been adding to the problems of power theft. For, though the Central Government bears the capital expenditure for implementation of the Yajana, it does not provide any support for recurring maintenance expenditure after the commissioning of these rural electrification schemes. This causes the APDCL a power loss of around 5 per cent, sources said.