CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin intends to reduce Tangedco’s losses and turn it into a profit-making Public Sector Undertaking, according to Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji. He told TNIE in an exclusive interview that he has managed to reduce the gap between cost and realisation by 50 paise a unit to Rs 1.94, in his first year in office.
TN has met an all-time-high power demand of 17,563 Mega Watt (MW) in this summer, seen as a sign of economic recovery post pandemic. Additionally, 9.16 lakh connections, including one lakh connections for farmers, were also given in 2021-22. How did you handle this?
As part of a precautionary measure, we procured 3,000 MW through a short-term agreement for April and May alone. In addition, we have increased our own generation in thermal plants from 15,537 Million Units (MU) to 20,390 MUs. We have also increased hydro-power generation. There was no deficit of power in the State.
In the past year, what steps have you taken to reduce the revenue gap between the Average Rate of Realisation (ARR) and the Average Cost of Supply (ACS)?
We have reduced the gap between ARR and ACS by 50 paise a unit within a year. It stands at Rs 1.94, down from Rs 2.44 per unit in the previous year. The main reason is that Tangedco has reduced losses. Previously, the additional loss was between Rs 11,000 and 12,000 crore every year. It was only Rs 6,000 crore in the last fiscal (2021-22). Besides, we saved Rs 2,200 crore by reducing the rate of interest and expenditures. I hope the gap will be reduced further in the current financial year by reducing line loss and installing smart meters.
Every year, the revenue gap has been growing by leaps and bounds. How will you address the issue?
We have a plan to install solar plants with a combined generating capacity of 6,000 MW across the State. For this project, even if we decide to take a bank loan at 8.5% interest, the loan amount will likely be paid within nine years. Solar plants have a 25-year generation period. Thus, Tangedco will earn more income through solar plants. As the previous government failed to initiate these steps, the PSU incurred a huge loss in the last 10 years. We also hope to cut the expenditure drastically. The company will be made profitable in 10 years.
What is the present status of underground cable work?
In Chennai Corporation, the work is going on in five zones while the tender process has been finalised for seven zones at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore. Within a couple of years, we will complete all UG cable works in Chennai Corporation and its suburbs. The UG cable works are set to be extended in the coastal areas as well.
In the past year, how many co-generation projects have been re-commissioned?
In the next two years, we will establish 12 co-generation units with a generating capacity of 183 MW. Work is on.
How much did Tangedco earn through the sale of fly ash in the thermal plants?
Through fly and waste ash, we earned Rs 170 core, which was more than the Rs 80 crore earned in 2020-21.
‘Minnagam’ a centralised customer care centre, helped Tangedco handle 7.2 lakh power-related complaints across the State till March 31. Are you looking at any other customer grievance outlet?
CM will launch a mobile application to register complaints.
What steps have you taken to install Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) in five Tangedco-owned thermal stations?
We have made an announcement already. Steps are to be initiated as early as possible.