The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 26 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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TVNL snag leads to blackouts

Ranchi, June 25: A tube leakage prompted an emergency shutdown of an unit at Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd (TVNL) in Bokaro’s Lalpania today, triggering widespread blackouts in 14 of the state’s 28 districts.

Though the state capital was spared, massive power cuts plagued the command area of Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) elsewhere as total generation plummeted to 250MW against a peak time demand of over 850MW.

To bridge the gap, JSEB drew around 350MW from the eastern grid, though with an overall deficit of over 250MW, JSEB had no option but to order phased blackouts in its command areas in Ranchi district, West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Gumla, Lohardaga, Khunti, Simdega, Chatra, Latehar, Koderma, Palamau, Giridih and Deoghar.

“We have been forced to shut down one of our units after tube leakage in the boiler plant. We are waiting for the unit to cool down so that emergency repairs can be carried out. We expect to light up the unit by late evening,” Ramavatar Sahu, TVNL general manager, told The Telegraph over phone from Lalpania.

Figures released by the regional load despatch centre indicated that with one TVNL shut down for emergency repairs, total generation in the state today stood at 256MW, contributed by the remaining unit at TVNL and one unit at Patratu Thermal.

Power officials pointed out that with the third phase expansion of TVNL yet to get off the ground even after seven years, the two existing units at TVNL, which are forced to run all days of the year, have become susceptible to frequent technical snags.

In 2005, the state government floated tenders for a third phase expansion of TVNL. The proposal envisaged setting up of three additional units, each with an installed capacity of 210MW. The cost of the project was estimated at Rs 2000 crore. Two main bidders — Skoda and Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) — responded to the tenders.

Czech giant Skoda was declared the lowest bidder, though the company wanted the state government to come up with counter guarantees to pay up in case JSEB, to whom all power generated at TVNL would be sold, failed to pay.

Over the next three years, successive governments failed to take any decision on the Skoda demand of counter guarantees, with the result that the much-needed TVNL expansion remained only on paper.

In 2010, TVNL mooted a proposal suggesting creation of two additional units in the third phase expansion plan with financing by Power Finance Corporation of India. However, sources said this proposal too continues to gather dust.

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