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Green power to help RInfra-led BSES, Delhi consumers save Rs 800 cr/yr

As Reliance Infrastructure-led BSES gears up to relinquish power from old thermal plants, the power distribution company and its consumers in the national capital may well save around Rs 800 crore a year if the Reliance Group company replaces this expensive power with cheaper green power.

Power industry sources said that replacing this expensive power with substantially cheaper green power, which is available at around Rs 2.50 per unit, will help Delhi consumers save around Rs 20,000 crore over a period of 25 years, at the rate of Rs 800 crore per year.

The recent judgement from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commision (CERC) along with efforts from the Ministry of Power has paved the way for BSES discoms to surrender costly power after a plant completes 25 years from the commercial operations date (COD).

There are a total of seven power stations that are supplying expensive power (above Rs 6 per unit) to Reliance Infrastructure-led BSES. Of these, five stations, including Dadri-I, have completed 25 years from COD. Additionally, two more power stations will complete 25 years by August 2021 and April 2022. These power plants supply around 830 MW power to BSES.

Apart from Dadri-I, Reliance Infrastructure led BSES discoms have initiated the process with the DERC for exiting the remaining power plants in this category, according to people in the know.

The share of Renewable Energy in BSES’ power portfolio is likely to progressively increase over-time. At present, it is around 10 per cent of our long arrangements.

This substantial difference in the prices of power will help in neutralising cost increases by absorbing the impact of inflation and other factors, including prices of coal, gas etc. In fact, these will ease the pressure on future tariff hikes, source said.

Besides, the savings may also help in creating headroom for recovery of the past revenue gap (regulatory assets). Due to non-cost reflective tariffs, revenue gaps (regulatory assets) of the Delhi discoms have reached Rs 51,646 crore as of March 31, 2020.

Earlier this month, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had written to the Power Ministry seeking de-allocation of the entire share of power for Delhi from the Dadri-I plant and allocating it to other states in a bid to lower the burden of fixed cost without any consumption in the national capital.

BSES discoms had stopped scheduling power from the Dadri-I plant of NTPC in November 2020, upon completion of the plant 25 years from its commercial date of operation and had sought exit from the plant. The NTPC had denied exit to BSES discoms, following which they approached the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).

The CERC recently said that discoms are eligible to terminate power purchase agreements (PPA) after 25 years of operations, thereby allowing BSES Yamuna Power Ltd to exit the PPA with NTPC’s Dadri-I power generating station.

According to industry sources, despite the expiry of the agreements with the NTPC and not scheduling the expensive power costing above Rs 6 per unit from Dadri-I, BSES discoms continue to pay around Rs 35 crore per month as fixed charges to NTPC due to NTPC’s threat of regulations of power supply.

In its second letter to the Power Ministry, the DERC said: “You are once again requested to permanently reallocate on urgent basis entire Delhi’s share of Dadri-I Generating Station of NTPC Ltd to other needy states with effect from 1st December, 2020 to avoid the burden of fixed cost without any power scheduled to end consumers of Delhi.”

On March 22, the Ministry of Power had issued guidelines enabling discoms to either continue or exit from PPAs after completion of the term of PPA beyond 25 years, which the CERC order also mentions.

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