THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The daily power consumption of 79.26 million units recorded on March 28, a period when summer has just begun, is an ominous portent of how intense the season is about to be. The level of consumption is threateningly close to 80.44 MU, the all-time record clocked on April 29, 2016. KSEB Limited has now revised its earlier estimate that daily consumption will touch 82 MU by the middle of April. It is now expected to soar above 85 MU.
Nevertheless, KSEBL stands by its promise that there would be no power curbs during this summer. “Soaring consumption will not necessitate power curbs as nearly 1200 MW had already been contracted through long-term arrangements,” power minister M. M. Mani said. Power has been contracted from power traders outside the state through both the MoU route (450 MW) and bidding (750 MW). In addition, nearly 75 MW will be purchased from traders within the state. And then, there is the 'day ahead' market from where emergency purchases are made.
MoUs have been entered into with two units each of Maithon Power Limited in Jharkhand and Damodar Valley Corporation in West Bengal to purchase 450 MW. 150 MW each will be sourced from Maithon's two units at Rs 3.62 per unit. The Damodar Valley power will be relatively costlier, 100 MW from one unit at Rs 4.24 per unit, and 50 MW from the other for Rs 4.94 per unit. "Still, this is far cheaper than evacuating power from diesel and naphtha stations within the state at an exorbitant `6 or `7 a unit," a top KSEBL official said.
KSEBL has also secured long-term supply of 750 MW from independent power producers. Most of these contracts were signed by the end of 2017, and all would expire only by 2040. The IPPs are: Jindal Power Limited (chattisgarh), Balco (Chattisgarh), Jhabua Power Limited (Madhya Pradesh), and Jindal India Thermal Power Limted (Odisha). Jhabua power is the costliest at Rs 4.50 per unit. However, the average cost is a competitive Rs 4.25 per unit. Further, during days when the state's reservoirs are depleted, KSEBL also resorts to purchase from the day ahead market. "At this time of glut in the market, the prices are as cheap as `2 to `3 a unit," a top KSEBL official said.