NEW DELHI: The government plans to award a big chunk of new transmission corridors worth Rs 25,000 crore to Power Grid Corp (PGCIL) on nomination basis citing urgency, evoking protests from private players in the sector.
The Tariff Policy provides for award of power transmission projects only through bidding, but it allows the Central government to allot them to staterun PGCIL based on strategic importance, technical upgradation or urgent situations.
“Most of the projects awarded to PGCIL on consideration of compressed time frame have not met the objective as about 90% of the projects got delayed,” Electric Power Transmission Association director general Subhash Sethi said. “It could be inferred that planning of power system with PGCIL, also the central transmission utility, has gone awry. Yet, PGCIL benefits by getting projects on nomination basis.”
The government has identified dedicated transmission corridors and substations with capacity to transmit about 18,500 MW electricity from wind and solar plants in western and southern regions. The per megawatt cost of the projects is estimated upwards of Rs 1.25 crore.
Private transmission companies said discrimination between public and private companies is not in line with the intent of the Electricity Act to promote competition. Private companies last week had expressed resentment against the Centre’s decision to allocate more coal to PSU power plants. They demanded that any excess coal be distributed on merit rather than on ownership basis, particularly when the private sector is reeling under stress.
A PowerGridNSE 0.14 % Corp spokesperson said the company was not aware of the development. A government official said a major portion of the projects could go to the state-run firm as there was severe transmission constraint, particularly in places like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu that needed to be addressed immediately. He said the transmission congestion could not be envisaged earlier as renewable energy project developers are swarming a few locations due to favourable conditions.
As per the government official, there is a mismatch of 1-2 years between commissioning of renewable energy projects and associated transmission infrastructure, necessitating the need for intervention by PGCIL. The industry executive said awarding the contracts to PGCIL would deny private companies of large orders.