Durgapur Project lights up one unit but continues to buy power

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Durgapur Project Limited (DPL), the state-owned power utility organization which suspended production at its unit in Durgapur from last Tuesday (December 10) finally powered up one of its units on Thursday (December 12) night. This is seen as a face saving measure by the five-decade old company ahead of the state power secretary’s scheduled visit to the plant next week.

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After unit number VI and VII, the two major power generating units of DPL were taken out of the generation line for major overhauling on last Sunday (December 8), DPL authorities took the decision to introduce its idle units of III and IV as a rescue measure. But due to excessive consumption of oil and coal by these old units the cost of generation was found to be much higher compared to the selling price.

So DPL management suspended the entire power generation of the power plant to prevent losses after due consultation and approval from West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission.

In order to cater to the average need of 300 MW in the command area, DPL started rationing power as it could procure only 180 MW of power on average from the grid.

In the last five days, the DPL has drawn nearly 11 million units from Indian Energy Exchange for Rs 2.94 per unit cost and six million units from WBSETCL at Rs 4.79 per unit cost.

DPL sells power at an average of Rs 4.19 per unit.

On Thursday, Load Dispatch Centre officials said: “DPL had drawn 230 MW and on Friday it was nearly 72 MW till 3 p.m. and after 5 p.m. the purchase soared up to 150 MW.”

The apparent decrease in purchase resulted due to lighting up of the unit No: VI. The officials said: “The unit though it used to record 85 MW average generations, could ensure 54 MW on Friday.”

The MD, Durgapur Projects Limited, Mr Majumdar said: “We expect that by 15 December the situation will be normalised after the unit VII resumes power generation.”

All the labour unions have criticized the role of the management in transforming DPL from power generating company to a “power trading” company.

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