North India is power starved, yet Himachal’s excess goes abegging

Shimla: Despite severe cuts across north India, a staggering 50 percent of the excess power generated by the hill state of Himachal Pradesh goes abegging as poorly-managed electricity boards across the region do not have the money to purchase it. The net result is that the excess power has to be sold in the open market at a lower profit.


“We are not finding buyers for 50 percent surplus power. The states, which were procuring electricity on a regular basis in bulk, are now opting for power cuts rather than buying electricity,” said Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy.

Himachal Pradesh, one the country’s largest hydropower producers, generates 7,913 MW, of which 810 MW is available for sale from April to October.

Officials of Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd said that Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were among the regular buyers from the state till last summer.

The cash-starved distribution companies of these states preferring to impose power cuts rather than procuring power. They are even reluctant to enter into long-term purchase agreements.

Surplus electricity and falling rates have virtually left the hill state commercially powerless.

“The electricity can’t be stored. It has to be used otherwise it will go waste. Since there is no regular buyer, we have been forced to sell it in the open market through the national power exchange at low margins,” the chief secretary said.

The profit, which was around Rs.3 per unit till last year, has come down to just 18 paise this year, he said.

Last year the electricity board was selling power up to the maximum price of Rs.7.50 per unit whereas this year it’s around Rs.3.75 per unit.

Roy said last year the state sold power in bulk at Rs 4.30 per unit to Uttar Pradesh but it failed to pay about Rs.180 crore. “We have decided in principle not to supply power to Uttar Pradesh till it clears the dues.”

Facing a huge power shortage, Uttar Pradesh Monday ordered the shutting down of malls, commercial establishments and shops at 7 p.m. every day for 15 days. Folowing huge protests, the order was rescinded a day later.

Hydro-electric power generation in the state increases in summer, but comes down to just 20 percent of the capacity during winter (November-March).
Himachal Pradesh has abundant water resources with a power generation potential of about 23,560 MW. About 7,913 MW have been harnessed till nowby the central and state governments, private players and joint venture companies.

Besides tourism and horticulture, hydropower is a major source of revenuefor the state.

From Rs.29.60 crore in 2003-04, the revenue from electricity rose to a whopping Rs.1,255 crore in 2008-09.

However, profits have come down from Rs.1,150 crore in 2010-11 to Rs.1,050 crore in 2011-12.

On the flip side, the chief secretary said Rajasthan and Karnataka have, for the first time, agreed to buy electricity from Himachal Pradesh.

“Karnataka has even shown interest in entering a long-term purchase agreement with us,” Roy added.

IANS

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8 Comments

  • Please read the report :

    The cash-starved distribution companies of these states preferring to impose power cuts rather than procuring power. They are even reluctant to enter into long-term purchase agreements.

    The profit, which was around Rs.3 per unit till last year, has come down to just 18 paise this year.

    The state sold power in bulk at Rs 4.30 per unit to Uttar Pradesh but it failed to pay about Rs.180 crore. “We have decided in principle not to supply power to Uttar Pradesh till it clears the dues.”

    Hope you know that neighboring states owe Himachal crores in past dues.

  • I m not talking here about revenue here..I m talking about the deficit in demand and supply of electricity in our country .that is the deficit in peak power supply. This deficit is there due to many reasons one of them being mismanagement of our power distributors , the other being the supply of coal which is the raw material for the base load power generation of the various thermal plants. It’s being exported . ..if u a idea of what I m trying to point. So we can not rely for power on only one source to meet the demand u need energy from other sources too. Hence the need for the generation through hydro sector. This has been realised by the ministry of power of our country .hence the electricity act of 2003.. FYI .. And many other policies like 50000mw hydro power initiative..

  • Power is an issue across the world. US and other developed countries saw the impact on environment and stayed away from Hydro. They harnessed nuclear but after Japan earthquake they are putting many other policies to protect nuclear plants and are holding on to develop new plants.

    Yes hydro is considered clean and also safe but look at the disturbance to overall environment.

    Go check lower areas of HP which are now dry and how vegetation is affected.

    Bad rains are even holding power generation during monsoon.

    A balance is required and that has not happened in the state.

    Pressure from the central govt and then Himachal’s dependence on central funds is one reason the state is trying to harness to the fullest without even studying the impact on environment.

    Deficit would always be there due to industrial growth. Nuclear is the way for the country. Study once nuclear plants would come how there won’t be any buyer for State’s power.

  • Nuclear is a way forward.. But it will also have its adverse effects..eg…look @ the opposition of nuclear plants in south India…people oppose just for the sake without any strong reasons..they just take one con point and go bla bla over it. What I mean is it is the people who can only come up with ways of generating energy in a sustainable and a Eco friendly manner. But i wonder is there any source which is 100% Eco friendly..so brainstorming is needed in this regard. And talking about natural calamities .. I ll say when nature strikes nothing can stop its adverse effects..and I wonder how the hydro power projects are entirely necessary for the adverse effects..in our country less than 25% of energy is generated using hydro power… And by the way I see no effluents or pollutants being released by a hydro power instead they provide only clean water which is returned back to the river itself after generation. And also the environment impact for various hydro power projects is considered and relevant clearances in this regard is accorded by ministry of environmental affairs only then a power project is set up.FYI google EIA and EMP reports regarding power projects. So there is nothing forced its there written . This is not an argument it’s just the reality……..

  • Nuclear: yes it’s being opposed for no reason.

    But keep in mind environmentalist worry that in India rules and regulations are not followed

    Hydro at least in Himachal is more than it should be. Impacts are all there in lower areas of the state where rivers and water bodies are drying up super fast.

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