Delay in Commissioning of Thermal Units, PSERC urged to fix responsibility [Tribune News Service, April 7 2010]

Submitted by info on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 8:17am

Delay in Commissioning of Thermal Units
PSERC urged to fix responsibility
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 7
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has been urged to fix responsibility for causing a loss of about Rs 2,600 crore to the PSEB due to delay in the installation and commissioning of units III and IV of the stage II of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabbat. The expenditure incurred on the project was Rs 2,356.86 crore by March 2009 against the estimated cost of Rs 1,789.67 crore

“Due to substantial time overrun in the execution of both units, the board was saddled with additional capital costs of Rs 564.19 crore coupled with extra avoidable expenditure of Rs 2,061 crore on the purchase of power at a high rate. Power had to be purchased due to delay in the completion of both units,” says a CAG report. The delay in the commissioning of these two units was also highlighted in these columns.

President of the BKU (Rajewal) said after fixing the responsibility, the commission should direct the state government to take action against officials concerned.

Rajewal said people, who directly fund the PSEB through tariff fixed by the commission, would have to borne the burden of the loss suffered by the PSEB. He said the commission should go through the CAG report.

The scheduled time period for commissioning units III and IV was December 2006 and March 2007. The unit III was synchronised for a trial operation in February 2008 and the unit IV in August 2008. Due to the synchronisation of the units without ensuring completion of all works, the period of trial operation was prolonged. The unit-III was commercially commissioned only in October 2008 and the unit IV was not commissioned till August 2009 when the audit was conducted. However, now both the units are operational.

Prolonged period of trial run resulted in the excess consumption of inputs of Rs 18.17 crore, which could not be recovered from the BHEL. It was given the task to set up the units in the absence of enabling clause, adds the CAG report.

The board not only failed to fulfill the primary objective of bridging the demand gap but also deprived itself of the benefit of interest rebate and interest subsidy for which it was entitled in case the project had been completed in the stipulated period.