Patna, Sept. 6: South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) has extended the last date for submission of bids to appoint a power distribution franchisee in the capital for the third time in four months.
The benchmark price of Rs 4.20 that the distribution company would have to pay for power purchases from Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd in the first year has prevented parties from bidding on previous occasions. The rate would increase every year.
The prospective bidders are seeking dilution of terms and conditions, including lowering of the benchmark price fixed by the power company on the basis of 2011-12 price, for taking up the franchise in the capital. “The power company has extended the date for submission of tender documents on the bidders’ request, as they want to study the terms and conditions. Since Patna is a big city, they want to study about the profitability and other technical aspects before submitting the document,” SBPDCL managing director Sanjay Kumar Agrawal told The Telegraph.
The company has not received a single bidder so far, he added. This is the third time the date for submission of bids has been extended since May 29 this year, when the fresh tender was floated for Patna. At first, the last date for submission of bids was July 25, then it was extended to August 28 and now it has been deferred to September 17.
The state government wants to hand over the distribution franchise for Patna to big players like Tata, Reliance, CESC or Torrent among others. “Patna being the capital, we want to give the job to a reliable company with the experience of working in the field of power distribution. That’s why the company has put terms and conditions which a good company can qualify,” said a senior power company official, wishing anonymity.
“It would be very difficult for distribution companies to reduce the line loss further, as it has been seen that it is easier to bring the line loss from 60 per cent to 25 and 30 per cent but after this a company has to make further investments and that’s why these prospective bidders want that the power company to alter the benchmark price. This is the only way for bidders to sustain the franchise,” a source said.
This would be power company’s fourth attempt to privatise the power distribution network of the capital since 2009.