GUWAHATI: If what APDCL says now has anything to go by, the much-talked-about Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHEP) is of no use for Assam. The state will be a gainer only if it gets power free of cost from LSHEP.
Union Power Minister RK Singh was on record announcing in Guwahati recently that the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project would start generating around 500 MW power from August next year.
Talking to The Sentinel, a top APDCL official said, "Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project has a power generating capacity of 2000-MW. We have a share of the allocation of 208 MW power. We signed a PPA (power purchase agreement) with LSHEP in 2009. The project got delayed. The conceived rate of power was Rs 1.86 per unit. However, due to the delay, the NHPC's cost for the Lower Subansiri Project escalated to Rs 20,368 crore from Rs 6,285 crore. The likely power tariff is Rs 7.35 per unit if we purchase power from the LSHEP. It is too costly for us.
"We have already urged the Government of Assam to take up the matter with the Union Power Minister to relieve the APDCL from the PPA signed with the LSHEP as that will be a financial burden for us. Because of the delay, APDCL has already tapped power from cheaper sources. Now we don't need power from the LSHEP."
When asked about power demand, the official said, "Our power demand varies from a minimum of 750 MW during winter to a maximum of 1964 MW during the summer. In summer, APDCL's off-peak period requirement is around 1,300-MW, and that of the peak-hour is 1964 MW.
"We have long-term PPAs for 2236-MW of power with various sources. The major contributors are APGCL (380 MW), NEEPCO (691 MW), NTPC (585 MW) and OTPC (240 MW)."
When asked why the APDCL has PPAs for 2236 MW when its demand is 1964 MW during the pick hour, the official said, "PPAs for 2236 MW is the capacity allotment. It is the percentage allocation for the state from the total capacities of the generating stations in the north-eastern region. However, power generators cannot generate their full capacities for delivery. The day-to-day availability of power depends upon water discharge into the rivers, gas/coal availability and availability of machines."