Post-bifurcation, Telangana power crisis set to worsen

Telangana is staring at a power crisis. The state accounts for more than half of the electricity consumed in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh. Electricity consumers in the region have been going through a period of crisis for many years as demand for power is much higher than the available power generating capacity.

The existing installed generating capacity of erstwhile AP is 16,465MW as of January 2014 and as per the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation Act, 2014 (APRA), the Telangana quota is pegged at around 8,337 MW. For the year 2014-15, the power demand stood at 7,260 MW even while the supply stood at 4,500 MW, resulting in a deficit of 2,760 MW.

There are three projects in the pipeline -- the Telangana-Kakatiya thermal power plant in Warangal district with an installed capacity of 600 MW and two in Seemandhra -- Krishnapatnam Thermal power plant in Nellore district and Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant in Kadapa district with installed capacities of 2X800 MW and 600MW, respectively.

‘‘Following the state division, the power crisis in Telangana region would further deepen,’’' says K Raghu, Convener of Telangana electricity employees joint action committee. This is because the installed power generating capacity in the region is less than half of region’s demand for power. However, several provisions in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 (APRA) tries to protect interests of both the states to have a smooth transition after bifurcation of the state. ‘‘APRA ensures that the existing power sharing arrangements for two regions with various generation sources would continue even after bifurcation of the state,’’ he says.

The existing Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with respective distribution companies (Discoms) shall continue for both ongoing projects and projects under construction. According to an order, the Central Power Distribution Company (CPDCL) and Northern Power Distribution Company (NPDCL) which are located mostly in Telangana region would get 61.93%, whereas Southern Power Distribution Company (SPDCL) and Eastern Power Distribution Company (EPDCL), which are totally located in Seemandhra region would get 38.07% of power generated from generating plants irrespective of their location. Anantapur and Kurnool districts which were part of CPDCL, are now assigned to SPDCL as these two districts belong to residuary state of AP.

Raghu says though Telangana state may not face additional power shortage on account of bifurcation, current power shortage itself is too high to be taken care of. Present shortage of power is varying from 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW. In addition yearly growth in power demand is around 10% excluding requirement of power for Lift Irrigation Schemes (LIS). Shortages in coal supplies, dwindling gas reserves, lack of sufficient transmission corridor from northern grid, high market prices for power in the southern states are some of the main barriers for any plans to address the power problems in Telangana state.

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