Debilitating technical snags at two new power stations equipped with Chinese gear in Haryana,which has forced the station operator state-owned Haryana Power Generation Corp (HPGCL) to ship the rotor of one of the units all the way to China for repair,has set the alarm bells ringing at the Centre.
At a time when equipment contracts for well over 40,000 MW of upcoming power capacity have already been placed with Chinese vendors,the Central Government is likely to issue an advisory that future orders should be awarded only after factoring in life-cycle costs of imported Chinese equipment,and not merely the upfront costs.
The over-reliance on Chinese equipment vendors,without access to adequate and rightly-priced spares as none of them have a manufacturing base in India,could create a serious crisis for the power sector. The Haryana experience bears this out, a Government official involved in the exercise said.
The two plants that are down,sparking widespread outages across the State,are HPGCLs Yamuna Nagar and Khedar stations.
Both the 300 MW units of the Yamuna Nagar thermal station are shut since early April,while one 600 MW unit of the Khedar unit is shut since end-April,causing a sudden shortfall of over 1,000 MW in the state.
While the Khedar unit,where the turbine blade has been found to be damaged as apparently a sealing strip inside the turbine broke loose and hit the blades,denting about 100 blades,has now been shipped to equipment vendor Shanghai Electric Companys facility in China as the firm does not have a service facility in India.
In case of Yamuna Nagar,both units are under forced shut downs after reported turbine failures. With the rotor of the first turbine unit again supplied by Shanghai Electric failing,a desperate HPGCL had to send it across for repair at the Siemens facility in Baroda. Delivery is expected only by November. The turbine blades of the second unit are also reported to be damaged.
An earlier report prepared by the Central Electricity Authority on the problems with Chinese gear takes note of specific instances of underperformance of the equipment deployed at various plants in India. These include Vedanta-acquired Balcos 540 MW plant and the turbines at the 600 MW Pathadi thermal power station.