Facing acute shortage of power,the Mayawati government will be spending Rs eight to ten crore every day during the general elections to ensure that the issue does not spell trouble for the ruling party.
From April,the state government will be purchasing power from Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and also from private companies like Tata and Reliance at the rates ranging between Rs 4.50 to Rs 7.50 per unit.
Chhattisgarh had been giving 270 MW of electricity to the state at the rate of Rs 7.50 per unit,from midnight to early morning for five hours,which was being supplied to the rural areas. The contract ended on February 28.
Fresh negotiations are on with the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board for the purchase of 90 MW at Rs 4.50 per unit. Besides,the government is also working on logistics to buy 90 MW from North Delhi Power Company Limited,a Tata enterprise,and the same amount from Reliance Power at the rate of Rs 4.50 per unit. Both Tata and Reliance buy power from Chhattisgarh and then trade it in the open market. The sources in the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) confirmed that during the Assembly elections,Reliance and Tata had sold power to UP at the rate of Rs 10.50 per unit.
To ensure availability of sufficient power during the elections,the government has already reached an agreement with the Himachal government for the purchase of 250 MW in the first half and 400 MW in the second half of the next month. This power will cost Rs 7.50 per unit.
However,UPPCLs Chairman-cum-Managing Director Navneet Sehgal denied that the power purchase has anything to do with the elections. There is nothing new in the purchase as every summer,the government buys power from other states having excess power.
UPPCL records show the minimum requirement of power in UP is 185 million units per day,against 155 million units that is available to the state. There is a power shortage of 30 million units at all times, said a Corporation official.
Currently,2,600 MW of electricity is generated in UP through thermal power projects,200 MW each from hydel and co-generation (the power produced by sugar mills). Besides,the state gets around 3,500 MW from the central pool,making the total power available with the state about 6500 MW against a demand of 10,000 MW.
The state government will also get 100 MW from Vishnuprayag (which is now in Uttarakhand) and 60 MW from Birlas Renu Sagar thermal power which together will not meet the demand.
All these new power deals will cost the government an additional Rs 250 crore a month. Whatever the government is paying to purchase electricity should not be incorporated into the corporations expenses since it would be recorded in the Corporations Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) and eventually the corporation employee and the consumer will have to face the brunt of it, said Shailendra Dubey,the secretary-general All India Power Engineers Federation.
Sehgal,however,said it did not matter who paid for the additional power since the government keeps helping the corporation from time to time.