The Telegraph
Thursday , November 17 , 2016

India Power plan to energise Bengal

Hemant Kanoria in Calcutta on Wednesday.
A Telegraph picture

Calcutta, Nov. 16: India Power Company Ltd (IPCL) has approached the Bengal power regulator for a parallel licence to distribute electricity in East Midnapur district.

The proposal, yet to receive a green light from the regulator, comes ahead of the commercial launch of the 150-mega-watt (MW) plant at Haldia next month.

IPCL, promoted by Kanoria Foundation, is also trying to revive a power purchase agreement with a Bengal government-owned distribution company before lighting up the plant. The company is setting up a 450MW plant in three modules of 150MW each at an investment of Rs 3,500 crore. The second unit is scheduled to start production by March and the last one by the end of 2017.

The West Bengal State Electricity Regulatory Commission has held a public hearing on the plea of a parallel licence for East Midnapur district that includes port-town Haldia, the industrial hotspot of Bengal.

"We have approached the regulator and the state government. IPCL's proposals are under active consideration," IPCL chairman Hemant Kanoria said.

If the state electricity regulatory commission allows the new entrant to distribute power, it will pose serious competition to state-owned West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd, which serves the industrial consumers in Haldia. Though the electricity act allows multiple players distributing in the same area, there are no such instances in Bengal.

The power purchase agreement is also in a pickle as the pact was annulled when the state government cancelled several such contracts in 2014 citing a delay in execution. Besides IPCL, a pact with JSW, Universal Success and many others were cancelled.

"Our case is a little different. The project has now come up. There was a delay in execution but unlike others, IPCL's plant is ready to be commissioned," Kanoria explained.

Meenakshi plant

IPCL has announced the completion of the acquisition of the 1,000MW Meenakshi Energy from French major Engie.

It has acquired the company with Rs 2,800 crore of debt and Rs 1,600 crore cash on the books. The Rs 3,800-crore equity was taken over for $1.

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