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Power purchase scam erupts at Punjab


Congress believes that Akali Dal government has deliberately purchased power at inflated rates from private companies and ignored state owned power company.The party said that it will order a high level probe into the scam book the guilty.

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“There is something wrong at the bottom as the power has been purchased at inflated rates by ignoring the state owned power plant.Why they did not stop the payments when one of the companies fail to deposit the penalty.We demand a high level probe into the purchases,” Congress MLA and former Leader of Opposition, Punjab said.

The state government which in 2012 had announced that it will export power to Pakistan, has in fact failed to provide affordable power to its own consumers. The consumers are not only battling frequent power cuts in the state but also compelled to pay  nearly Rs 1.75 additional amount per unit as compared to the neighbouring Haryana.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) while refuting the allegations of alleged power purchase scam made by Sunil Jakhar, said both the Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo thermal plants had been selected after a global tender and that the variable power cost had been fixed as per a long term power purchase agreement which had been approved by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC).

“I  do not want people to be misled by the allegations which were devoid of facts.The factual position was that both Larsen and Toubro and Sterlite Company had been selected to put up the Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo thermal plants after a transparent bidding process approved by the Union government,”  PSPCL Chariman K D Chaudhri said .

Chaudhri said what also needed to be understood was that there were two components of tariff including the fixed cost and the variable cost. He said the variable cost was essentially a fuel cost which is part of the conditions of any power purchase agreement (PPA). He said the allegation that the variable cost was arbitrarily increased is completely misleading. He said all private thermal plants had coal linkages with Coal India Limited (CIL) which was a government of India undertaking and that all payments made by the companies to CIL were reimbursed to them as per provisions of the PPA. “PSPCL has signed a long term PPA with these private thermal plants which is a standard document approved by PSERC. All payments are made strictly as per Power Purchase Agreements”, he added.

“The allegation that PSPCL did not recover the penalty on account of late commissioning of Talwandi Sabo Power Plant (TSPL) was also misleading. The case of recovery of Liquidated Demurrages (LD) on account of late commissioning of TSPL was under arbitration and there was a stay on the encashment of bank guarantee to the tune of Rs.950 crore,” K D Chaudhari said.

He said the allegation that PSPCL purchased power at exorbitant rates was also misleading because since the inception of PSPCL, it purchased power through a transparent bidding process and rates had always been reasonable. “PSPCL is scheduling power from all resources strictly as per merit order which means that the lowest cost power is scheduled first and as per demand costly powers are always surrendered. Merit Order also includes the State run thermal power plants and PSPCL does not schedule power from the State run power plants also if it is costlier”.

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