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Power purchases takes its toll on performance of thermal plants
The thermal units of Punjab has been backing down to facilitate the power purchases made by PSPCL. The power purchases being resorted by Punjab State power Corporation has taken its toll on the thermal plants in Punjab as their performance has been below par during the first six months of the financial year.

The generation at three thermal plants of state dipped by more than 800  million units in first half of financial year due to backing down of units following excess power purchases. 920 MW Lehra Mohabatt thermal plants generated 3459 million units (MU) in first six months against last year’s generation of 3871 MU during the corresponding year.

Similarly 1260 MW Ropar thermal plant generated 4428 MU in six month period ending September against 4808 MU during corresponding year last year.

As per CEA reports the PSPCL thermal plants in state failed to achieve the given targets of generation this year. The generation target of thermal plants in Punjab was down l by 16.82% in June and 18.42 % in August from the scheduled target of 84.82% and 86.24%.

This year the monthly generation at Lehra Mohabatt thermal varied between 493 MU to 624 MU while this variation was between 598MU to 690 MU. In case of Ropar thermal plant the variation is between 657 MU to 874 MU this year against last year’s variation of 722MU to 852 MU.

It may be mentioned that Lehra Mohabatt thermal plant used to be amongst best run thermal plants of the country last year.

The PSPCL had tied with various power generators for supply of about 5400 MW power at rates varying from Rs. 3.97 per unit to Rs. 4.04 per unit. To take the committed power purchase PSPCL  used to back down its own thermal units whenever power demand take a dip due to rainy season.

It may be mentioned that the generation cost at Lehra Mohabatt and Ropar thermal plants is much  less than power purchase cost.  This may lead to more burden on consumers in the next tariff order.

According to sources Director (Finance) has been able to put some brakes on reckless short term power purchases being resorted by PSPCL.

The backing down of PSPCL’s own thermal units may become more after the thermal units of private companies become operative in December this year. The state will be forced to buy power from these private thermal plants as per power purchase agreements.

The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission had approved the short term power purchase of 2578 million units to PSPCL from April, 2013 to October, 2013 for meeting the un-restricted demand

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