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BW Businessworld

Grid Of Access

Photo Credit :

directly connect to inter-state trans-
mission lines (Pic: Bivash Bannerjee)

All thermal power plants of 500 mw and above and hydro power plants of 250 MW and above will be allowed to connect to inter-state transmission lines so that they can sell power under ‘open access’ without investing in new transmission lines, says a proposal by the Power Regulatory Commission.

This comes even as the Centre is working towards building an incentive-driven mechanism to usher in open access into the Indian power sector.

Interestingly, the proposal seems designed to promote higher capacity plants and would benefit new power projects more than the old ones. While India does not have the requisite transmission infrastructure to cater to smaller plants, open access cannot be blocked on the pretext of lack of transmission capacity. The commission has also defined the timeframe for open access — as medium-term (three months to three years) and long term (12 years to 25 years). Long-term open access plans may require new transmission lines. Meanwhile, a Planning Commission task force on open access has recommended that NTPC and NHPC should set aside a fraction of their power for those states that have good policies of open access.

While it is learnt that Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is not too keen on this measure, these regulatory measures would indirectly imply that all of NTPC/NHPC’s plants can utilise the transmission networks to sell power through open access. The ball is now in the states’ court to facilitate open access or lag behind the rest of the nation in reforming the power sector.

(Businessworld Issue Dated 18-24 Aug 2009)