VIJAYAWADA: Alleging that the previous Chandrababu Naidu government signed renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) at exorbitant rates to benefit its coterie, Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy has said the earlier dispensation backed down on the purchase from units which sold thermal power at a lower price and bought wind and solar power at a higher price.
Citing the example of NTPC, Kudgi, the minister said backing down on purchase from the unit resulted in a loss of Rs 562.4 crore to the exchequer as the State not only had to pay a fixed cost — even though it did not procure power— but also purchased renewable power at a higher rate. In a statement on Thursday, the minister explained that the PPA with NTPC was signed at Rs 11.68 per unit when solar wind power wasavailable at Rs 4.80 per unit.
He explained that the Naidu government had not taken full allocation from Kudgi plant. He claimed that the earlier government scaled down the purchase of power from Kudgi unit.
“After PPAs signed by the Naidu government with solar and wind power plants, the government has reduced the power purchase from NTPC, Kudgi, where the cost of per unit current is Rs 3.58. Then, the government started purchase of solar and wind power at Rs 4.84 per unit. By then, the fixed charges of the plant has been increased to Rs 8.2 from Rs 1.2 per unit. Moreover, additionally, Rs 1.26 has been paid for every unit. As a result, Rs 274 crore was wasted as fixed cost — to be paid even if power is not purchased — besides Rs 288.4 crore burden of additional power purchase,” he explained.
Condemning reports that the government was procuring power at higher rate, the minister clarified that the energy department purchased power at lower cost than last year. The minister revealed that the previous government on October 1, 2018, had purchased 9.92 MU of power at Rs 5.99 per unit, while on the same day this year, 23.1 MU was purchased at Rs 3.33 per unit. On October 2 this year, 27.85 MU power was purchased at Rs 2.95 per unit against last year’s Rs 5.72. On October 3 and October 4 too, the government bought power at Rs 3.17 per unit and Rs 3.18 per unit lower than last year’s corresponding rate.