Center gives nod Eminent Ltd will take over UT’s electrical department by end of March

The Union Government has given the green light to Eminent Electricity Distribution Limited to take over the Chandigarh Power Supply Department. The company should take over and start operating from the end of March.

Chandigarh Councilor Dharam Pal in an interview with The Indian Express on Wednesday said, “The Union Home Ministry has given approval to Eminent Electricity Distribution Limited to take over the Electricity Department from Chandīgarh. The formalities of the transfer process have begun and the company will officially take over by the end of March.

Several members of Chandigarh Powermen Union protested against the decision to hand over the electricity department to a private company.

The union, which fears that the powerful will lose their jobs, announced a three-day strike against the privatization on Tuesday and threatened to call an indefinite strike from February 21 if the decision was not overturned.

Eminent Electricity Distribution Limited was finalized by the Chandigarh administration as the company that would take over its electricity department after the company became the highest bidder for the Chandigarh electricity privatization scheme ahead of six other companies, including Adani Transmission Limited, Tata Power, Torrent Power, Sterlite Power, Renew Wind Energy and NESCl (NTPC). Eminent had quoted a sum of Rs 871 crore against Rs 175 crore reserve price for the project.

ABOUT Eminent Electricity Distribution Limited

Eminent Electricity Distribution Limited is a Kolkata based company and is classified as a non-governmental company registered at the Registrar of Companies, Kolkata.

Its authorized share capital is Rs 5,000,000,000 and its paid up capital is Rs. 4,600,500,200. The company is involved in the generation, collection and distribution of electricity.

Its parent company is the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) which is the Kolkata-based flagship company of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, which spun off from the former RPG Group under the chairmanship of businessman Sanjiv Goenka.

CESC is an Indian power generation company and the only distribution company serving 567 square kilometers (219 sq mi) of area administered by Kolkata Municipal Corporation, as well as parts of Howrah, Hooghly, 24 Parganas (north) districts and 24 Parganas (south). in the state of West Bengal.

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It serves around three million consumers, including home, industrial and commercial users, according to reports available online.

A prominent power company had made the highest bid of Rs 871 crore for the Chandigarh power privatization scheme, ahead of Adani Transmission Limited and Tata Power.

On May 28 last year, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana ordered a halt to the privatization process after a petition was filed in this regard by the Chandigarh Powermen Union.

The suspension was challenged in the Supreme Court by the Chandigarh administration, which in turn overturned the suspension order last month, allowing Eminent to resume power distribution in Chandigarh.

The decision to privatize power in Chandigarh was taken on the instructions of the Center on May 12, 2020.

There were several protests from the powermen’s union as they feared that the privatization of the Electricity Department would lead to many of them losing their jobs.

HOW CHANDIGARH BUYS ITS ELECTRICITY

Chandigarh has no own electricity generation and has an annual consumption of around 400 megawatts (MW). An amount of Rs 640 crore is spent on purchasing power of Chandigarh every year.

The Chandigarh Electricity Department purchases electricity at the rate of Rs 3.26 per unit.

The Chandigarh administration purchases its electricity through its allotment from Central Power Plants (CGS): National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited ( NPCIL), Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd (THDC).

To meet the ever-increasing demand, which tends to peak during the summers, the electric utility sometimes procures unrequisitioned excess electricity from various generating stations.

The department has a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 247 MW. To fill the gap, unrequisitioned excess electricity is usually purchased from Dadri, Jhajjar, Unchahar-I and Unchahar-II power stations, among other power stations.

At present, Chandigarh’s electrical load is supplied by 3 × 100 MVA power transformers based in Kishangarh, 2 × 80 MVA transformers from Mohali and via a 66 kV line from Dhulkote.

There is one 220KV substation, about thirteen 66KV substations and five 33KV substations in the city.

Each substation has a lifespan of 25 years, and about six of the 13 66KV substations have already completed their lifespan.

In Chandigarh, there are almost 2.47 lakh electricity consumers in different categories. Among them, 2.14 lakh or about 87% of the total number of consumers belong to the household category.

Other categories include commercial power, small power, medium supply, bulk supply, large supply, street lighting, agricultural power, and temporary supply.

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