Business landscape

February 26, 2016 2:19 am0 commentsViews: 166

Transmission is turning out to be a major bottleneck for SEBs, NTPC as well as private generators which are losing an opportunity to generate power due to corridor congestions. Some relief was obtained by western regional generators when the link to southern states was commissioned by Power Grid. But frequent trippings and outages of interconnecting lines leading to reduction in exports from the western to northern region during January 2016 created a similar situation. A corridor was not available for short and medium term transactions from the western to northern region. Available transfer capability was nearly half that of applications and hence many of the transactions were curtailed. Excess power was available which was being traded on exchange thereby reducing exchange rates to rock bottom. It is understood that heavy fog in northern region was responsible for non-availability of transmisson lines.

As it is no transmission corridor is available to the southern region from any of the regions. Generators are unable to evacuate power to regions which are under deficit due to inadequate transmission lines. The increase in transmission capacity is not able to cope up with the addition of generation capacity. Most private players were interested in adding generation capacity but not transmission capacity due to ROW issues involved and fixed returns of transmission sector. A typical transmission project requires anywhere between 3 to 5 years to get commissioned, if no major delays are foreseen due to forest clearances or land acquisitions. There have been instances of transmission lines being forced to take a different route than planned, resulting in the entire project budget going out of control.
Power transmission constraints have made it difficult to evacuate power from regions with surplus to the regions that face shortages. Distribution companies in the northern region were forced to purchase power from costlier sources while cheaper sources remained under-utilised due to transmission constraints. There is an urgent need to address issues in the transmission sector in time to ensure that power demand is effectively met. The government is slow on sustained distribution reforms and end up giving open-ended subsidies in power. The government has announced a new UDAY.

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