The state energy ministry has prepared a plan to meet the power requirements of the state till 2040. According to energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, distribution sector will need 22,000 crore in the coming 25 years, while transmission sector will require 15,000 crore. On the generation front, the MSEDCL will sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 4,000MW in the coming years. Rest of the requirement will be met through renewable sources, Bawankule told TOI on Thursday. At present MSEDCL is grappling with oversupply and will have 6,000MW surplus power even in 2019-20. Bawankule clarified that the 4,000MW PPAs will be utilized after 2025.
Earlier, in the state assembly, Bawankule admitted that MSEDCL’s financial position was not good. “Its arrears due from consumers have reached 20,000 crore, of which 13,000 crore are owed by farmers. Lift irrigation schemes (LISs) and public water works are also major defaulters. However, due to the successive droughts, MSEDCL did not recover these dues,” he said.Opposition members claimed that MSEDCL had sought a massive tariff hike of 19%, which would heavily burden the common consumers. The minister replied that this hike was spread over a period of six years and the proposed increase for this financial year was only 5.5%. “Moreover, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) will decide to what extent a tariff hike was required,” he said.
On high power rates of Mahagenco as compared to Chhattisgarh, the minister said that in Chhattisgarh most of the power plants were pithead, which means that they were located very close to coal mines. “Consequently, the cost of transport of coal is negligible. Whereas, coal comes to Mahagenco plants after travelling hundreds of kilometres,” he said. The minister justified the subsidy to industries in backward regions saying that the power tariff in these areas was now equal to that of many other states. MSEDCL will sign power purchase agreements for 4,000MW. Rest of the requirement will be met through renewable energy sources.