11-km gap costing Kerala State Electricity Board Rs 50 crore per year

The completion of the stretch is necessary to bring power from Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

THIRUVANANTHPAURAM: The unfinished 11-km Edamon-Kochi stretch of the Thirunelveli-Kochi-Madakkathara 400 kv line has suddenly come to haunt the state. At a time when falling reservoir levels have forced KSEB Limited to depend heavily on power from outside, the 11-km nothingness between Edamon and Kochi is seen as the difference between power sufficiency and widespread consumption curbs.

The completion of the stretch is necessary to bring power from Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. At the moment, the 133 MW of the state’s entitlement from the first reactor of the Kudankulam Plant is imported through a circuitous route; from Thirunelveli, the power is routed to Udumalpet and from there to Madakkathra and then to Kochi causing huge transmission loss. During the last three years, KSEBL has been suffering a loss of Rs 50 crore annually as a consequence of reaching the relatively cheap nuclear power through this roundabout route.

If the state has to receive its share from the second Kudankulam reactor (133 MW), the completion of the stretch is inevitable. The second reactor, which began its trial run on July 10, has not yet reached full load. Once the full load of 1000 MW is achieved, the reactor will be subjected to a series of extensive tests before it can hope to get the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Meaning, it will take at least seven months to materialize.

“It now looks as if the stretch will not be complete even when the second reactor starts transmission,” a top KSEBL official said. Even an exorbitant compensation of 100 percent the land value has not moved the residents of the area to part with their land. The Edamon-Kochi stretch alone is not the issue. KSEBL had recently struck a long-term cost-effective contract to bring in 865 MW from a trader in North India. But for the state to enjoy this power, long-delayed transmission stretches like Edamon-Kochi, Wardha-Hyderabad, and Ankul-Sreekakulam should be completed.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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