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Tackling power outages- TANGEDCO

(20 Apr 2015)

It is not only the delay in commissioning of new thermal power stations that has become a cause for concern for power managers in the State. The breakdown of the newly commissioned projects is causing as much anxiety.

Citing accidents in its new projects, Tangedco, the State’s power utility, sought approval for high-cost power purchase from private producer GMR Power Corporation Limited for one year.

In its petition before the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC), Tangedco submitted that unforeseen fire accidents and breakdown of equipment in new projects like NCTPS Stage II, Vallur JV and MTPS Stage III were delaying the stabilisation of the projects.

This was last summer. This summer, stabilisation is still not to the satisfaction of Tangedco, even though it is in a better position to manage the power scenario despite deciding not to go for high-cost power purchase.

Last year, the efficiency of the new plants was definitely a matter of concern. In the seven-month period between March–September 2014, outages ranged from 15 days to 85 days, depending upon the unit (graphics).

In October, KKNPP Unit I was shut down after an unforeseen mechanical malfunction in the turbine. It became functional only late in January 2015. One of the Vallur thermal plants, a 500-MW unit, also went off the grid due to a snag for about two months. Coal shortage was cited as a reason for Central generating stations supplying power to the State for a few months late last year, say officials.

In March this year, the State suffered a blackout in many parts after two units of North Chennai power plant and the barely month-old Vallur third unit developed glitches and went off the grid, resulting in a drop in supply of 1,700 MW. But the blackout lasted only for a few days, says a senior Tangedco official.

According to a Tangedco document on the generation details during this fiscal (up to February 2015), the plant load factor (PLF) of 500 MW units was only around 50 to 55 percentage. For instance, Mettur III 600 MW unit was generating only around 400 MW till recently due to a snag. It had to be shut down and then the capacity generation was increased to 600 MW, say sources.

Officials say snags are not deliberate. “In case of outages, which could normally be due to technical snags, we make an all-out effort to rectify the snag,” says a senior official.

When it comes to JVs like in Vallur, the officials say they do not interfere in the day-to-day affairs. “We will be updated regularly about the operational level and efficiency of such stations,” adds the official.

Admitting that the teething troubles persist in the new plants, including their own, JVs like Vallur and in Kudankulam, Tangedco officials expect the new plants, including those commissioned this year, to perform better.

News Source : The Hindu