Despite RSPL, we are short of 50 MW

| 17 February 1999 10:09 IST

Goa expects lifting of the ban on new power connections, imposed by the high court for nearly ten months now, once the state's first mini private power project is commissioned by the month end.

While development of the industrially backward tourist state has literally come to a grinding halt after banning power supply from May last year, it is unclear whether the court would accept the government's plea as the shortfall would be still 50 MW against the requirement of 300 MW.

Following environmental clearance for the Reliance Salgaoncar Pvt Ltd's private power project, it would now begin with generation of 30 MW immediately in an open cycle system, while the combined cycle would start generating around 50 MW in three months.

The state-run power department however would be able to wheel only 40 MW from it since the state authorities have decided not to scrap the power purchase agreement the RSPL had signed in September last year to sell its 10 MW to the Mormugao Port Trust directly.

Following this PPA, the government then totally banned its short-lived open sky policy, allowing private generators to sell directly to the consumers. Before it could finalise the policy on the final decision on privatisation of the power sector and corporatisation of the power department, it has been now brought under the President's rule.

Governor J F R Jacob is however keen on going ahead with the former Congress government's plan of public debate on both these aspects, though he does not wish to frame the power policy but wait for the new government to do the rest. The debate is scheduled the next month.

Meanwhile, the RSPL power would be absorbed by the Sancoale sub-station in Mormugao taluka, supplying power to the port town of Vasco as well as the Verna electronic city, where most of the electronic multinationals are situated.

Though this would improve the power situation in the state, authorities admit that it would not help in wiping out the power deficit totally. "With our immediate requirement of 300 MW, we would still need 50 MW more," admits T Nagrajan, the chief electrical engineer. The state presently survives on 210 MW wheeled from the NTPC.

"I don't see any problem in the court agreeing to our request to lift the ban since power supply would be within our control once the RSPL project is commissioned", claims power secretary Rakesh Mehta. He points out that the decision not to allow 26 new power guzzlers has come as a big relief, helping the state to improve its power situation.

But the industry still seems to be worried as power fluctuations and unannounced power shut downs has become order of the day. Most of the industries are still banking upon generators while no major industry can think of coming to Goa without having its own captive power plant.

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