BHUBANESWAR: Even as flood water of the Mahanadi river was released from Hirakud dam from Thursday, prolonged shutdown of four hydro power generating units of Hirakud and Chipilima stations has deprived the Gridco of availing cheap power.
Though successive low pressures have triggered good rainfall and water levels in major reservoirs are improving significantly, the State is losing out around 300-350 MW of hydro power due to non-availability of energy from eight generating units of the Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC).
“It is noticed that a number of OHPC units are under prolonged shutdown even as monsoon is active. Two units of Chipilima power house are under maintenance because of spillage of water from power generation at Burla. The OHPC could have planned earlier to avoid such wastage of water,” an internal communication between the Gridco and the State Government said.
Units 1, 3 and 6 of Burla hydro power station and third unit of Chipilima power house have been non-functional most of the times during the past five months due to some problem or the other. These units, having a generating capacity of 147 MW, are breaking down frequently due to lack of maintenance by the OHPC, sources said.
Similarly, three of the eight units of Balimela hydro power station, with a generating capacity of 195 MW, are non-functional due to problem in thrust bearings.
“Annual maintenance of hydro power generating units should be completed well before the arrival of the monsoon to take advantage of the excess water released from the reservoirs.
The OHPC is seriously lacking on this front,” the sources said.
The average generation, which was restricted to 350 MW a week ago due to low hydro position in the reservoirs, has been stepped up to 750-800 MW. The evening peak generation is about 1,200 MW.
“Availability of more hydro power means less cost to Gridco on power purchase. Roughly, 83 per cent of Gridco’s expenditure is towards purchase of power,” a senior officer of the State trading utility said.
Gridco, the bulk power supplier to the State, is purchasing hydro power from OHPC at 81 paise per unit.
The utility had purchased 6,790 million unit (MU) of power from the OHPC in 2013-14. The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has approved purchase of 5,881 MU for the current fiscal.
With the Met department predicting more rains in the southern parts of the State, the prospects of improved water level have brightened at reservoirs at Balimela, Baraniput (Upper Kolab), Mukhiguda (Indravati) and Machkund.