Companies Selling Power At Exorbitant Rates To J&K

Companies Selling Power At Exorbitant Rates To J&K

17 April 2013
Rising Kashmir
Asem Mohiuddin

Srinagar: With Valley facing power crisis, more skeletons are tumbling out as it has been revealed that power companies are selling electricity at an exorbitant rates to the State. The government is mulling legal action against the companies and plans to hire consultancy firm to assess the power purchase losses incurred by the State. “NHPC, Northern grid and Himachal Pradesh are selling electricity to J&K at very high costs despite the fact that hydel energy is generated at marginal rates,” senior PDD officials, pleading anonymity, told Rising Kashmir. They said the State is paying extra money to purchase electricity from power companies. “The government would hire a consultancy firm to estimate actual losses incurred by the State due to power purchases at higher rates. After assessing the losses, we will seek compensation from the companies. In case, they refuse to slash the rates, the state would demand hike in charges of power generation from its water resources as they (companies) are paying peanuts to J&K for exploiting its resources,” highly placed sources said. They said the power companies despite generating electricity at very cheap rates in J&K are making ‘illegal’ profits in water rich-powerless state. “Of the companies refuse to slash rates and give compensation to the state, the government will be forced to take legal action against them and file a petition against the companies in the court,” they said. Sources said the idea was discussed with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who also holds the power portfolio, during a power review meeting held in Jammu last week. “CM liked the idea and gave nod to hire the consultancy to assess losses on account of purchase of electricity,” they said. A senior PDD official said the consultancy firm would also make an estimate of power forecast for next two years. “The consultancy would also give us appropriate ideas about domestic requirement and procedure to supply electricity”. Chief Engineer Power Development Department (Commercial) Vinod Khajuria told Rising Kashmir that department has already floated tenders for national bidding to hire the consultancy firm. “The consultancy firm would give us an assessment of losses we suffer in power purchase besides the electricity requirement,” he said. Khajuria said this initiative will help PDD to reduce power purchase costs from 5 to 10 per cent. He said after assessing the losses, the government will move petition against the power companies in a court. Without identifying any power company against whom State plans to file petition, PDD CE said, “Once the consultancy comes up with its report and identifies the companies selling power at exorbitant rates to State, the government will accordingly file petition against the erring companies. As of now, I can’t identify any particular company”. The government has already filed a petition against NHPC for its refusal to return power projects to the State. Khajuria said extra burden being incurred by State in making power purchases would be reduced considerably and amount can be used for purchasing additional power to overcome electricity crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.