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‘Optimism about power situation on the wane’

Pointing out that companies like Thermax,Crompton Greaves,L&T and others received limited orders in the last three quarters,officials from power equipment firms feel that the so-called optimism about power situation in the state was only temporary

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Published: July 3, 2012 2:41:04 am

Pointing out that companies like Thermax,Crompton Greaves,L&T and others received limited orders in the last three quarters,officials from power equipment firms feel that the so-called optimism about power situation in the state was only temporary. They say what affects the country will also impact Maharashtra and that the power situation is not so good now.

At Thermax Ltd,which provides a range of engineering solutions to energy and environment sectors,officials admit that the number of orders has been dipping. Investments in the power sector have been declining due to RBI’s rate hike spree to curb inflation. Land acquisition challenges and deepening fuel crisis have considerably affected orders across various sectors,they said.

Pradeep Bhargava,chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries,Western Region,fears that the combined losses incurred by the state electricity boards — that is in excess of Rs 1,25,000 crore — may well escalate into a major problem . “Even if industrial units were capable of generating power in order to sell it to the power utilities,what is the guarantee that the boards will pay them?” he says.

He added that due to stagnant economy,industrial demand is low and at some manufacturing units employees are not working the usual three shifts.

Industry consumes about 40 per cent of power while 22 per cent is required by domestic consumers and 19 per cent by agriculture.

By March 2011,Maharashtra had an installed generation capacity of 22,645 MW. The industrial consumption in the state is 30,866 Million Kilo Watt Hours.

Anant Sardeshmukh,Director General of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce,Industries and Agriculture,said there was no problem with power situation now.

Bhargava said there was no major concern about the supply of power to industries. Industries have not faced severe hardship in the state unlike other states as new power generation capacities have been added apart from Dabhol power plant,he said.

According to MSEDCL officials,Maharashtra procures power from various sources — nearly 6,500 MW from Mahagenco,3,000-4,000 MW from central grid and 1,500 MW from Dabhol power station.

The remaining 700-800 MW power is purchased from other sources. The MSEDCL earns around Rs 2,800 crore every month from consumers and the shortfall is due to lack of revenue generation from areas where transmission and distribution losses are high. “It is the domestic consumers who have suffered due to loadshedding for several hours,” says Jayant Deo,managing director and CEO of Indian Energy Exchange (IEX).

Maharashtra has always given priority to the industrial sector and hence it has not suffered.

But the ones to be affected are small consumers as they do not have the choice of an electricity supplier. According to the Electricity Act,2003,such industrial units that consume electricity of 1MW and above have a choice of a supplier.

For industries in MIDC,load shedding was restricted to only one staggering day/week. Industries then had faced load shedding of 8 to 16 hours for only one day in the week. Experts said since many industries,anyway,take a weekly off on such staggering day (for maintenance or other reasons),load shedding has not affected these industries to a great extent. According to MSEDCL officials,that there is no loadshedding for industries.

Says Shantanu Dixit from Prayas Energy Group says,”Industries on express feeders enjoy 24×7 power supply and are exempted from load shedding.

For industries outside MIDC areas,a couple of years ago,load shedding was for 4-6 hours in a day during peak of power shortage. Recently,this has reduced to 0 to 4 hours,depending on the area.”

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