By Sanjay Jog
Barely 10 days after the restoration of power at the erstwhile Dabhol power project, the Ratnagiri Gas & Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL) was yet again forced to shut down today. Power generation has been discontinued since Thursday morning due to lack of gas supply, needed to run the plant.
An RGPPL spokesman confirmed the closure of plant since Thursday morning and expressed its inability to resume generation until the restoration of gas supply.
This is not the first time that the power plant has had to shut down. It had halted generation on January 26 on similar grounds. Then, the plant lay idle for two days till it got supply of 1.9 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas from KG-D6 and 0.2 mmscmd from ONGC. Between January 28 and February 6, the plant was generating 240 MW of power, compared with its capacity of 1,967 MW.
After today's closure, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran), which procures 95 per cent of power from the Dabhol project, has revived its demand to declare the project as central generation project and supply its power at pool cost. A MahaViataran official told Business Standard “The frequent closure of plant for want of gas will not do. Hence, we sincerely appeal to the Centre to declare Dabhol project as central generation project and supply power at pool cost. By this, MahaVitaran will be able to procure power at Rs 2.50 to 3 per unit instead of the current tariff of Rs 4.80 per unit.”
The official said even the MahaVitaran will be happy if it receives 1,000 MW against 1,967 MW at pool cost. Further, till the Centre declares the Dabhol project as central generation project, the RGPPL can generate power for five days in the event of availability of gas and keep it closed it on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The RGPPL spokesman said, “RGPPL requires about 8.5 mmscmd gas for full operation and that much has been by the government of India. Of this, 7.6 mmscmd of gas was from KG D-6 Basin and 0.9 mmscmd from Marginal Gasfields of ONGC (through GAIL). As against this, RGPPL is getting about 0.84 mmscmd from RIL and 0.2 mmscmd from GAIL. This is not sufficient to run even 1 (out of 6) gas turbines at technical minimum operating parameter and hence RGPPL is forced to resort to phased operation on a weekly basis."
He informed that RGPPL's generation loss was 3,095 million units following an average gas supply of 6.3 MMSCMD during 2011-12. Further, the generation loss during 2012-13 (till date) surged to a record 7,578 million units as the average gas supply dipped to 3.3 MMSCMD. Currently, RGPPL supplies almost entire power to MahaVitaran at the per unit tariff of Rs 4.80.
The company spokesman admitted that the spot R-LNG is abundantly available in open market (including RGPPL’s own LNG Terminal). "However the cost of power generated is overpriced compared to alternative sources available in the market at current prices of spot R-LNG ($17-$20 per million British thermal unit," he said.
Moreover, RGPPL official said during 2012-13 the company expects a plant load factor (PLF) of around 30% with around 40% annual fixed cost recovery while PLF during 2013-14 would be around 14% with around 19% annual fixed cost recovery as per current CERC (Central Electricity Regulatory Commission) norms. "Thus RGPPL is unlikely to meet its equity and debt servicing obligations after meeting its operating expenses from its annual revenue," the official noted.