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Solar power policy hits Raj Bhavan roadblock

Solar power policy hits Raj Bhavan roadblock
Highlights

Complaints pour in from different quarters Apprehensions of heavy burden on consumers Demand to involve Genco Governor calls for report from...

  • Complaints pour in from different quarters
  • Apprehensions of heavy burden on consumers
  • Demand to involve Genco
  • Governor calls for report from Energy dept
Patan Afzal Babu solarHyderabad: The ambitious Solar Power Policy of the State Government got embroiled in a major controversy calling for the intervention of Governor ESL Narasimhan. With complaints pouring in, he has called from the Energy Department a detailed report on the procedures adopted for inviting tenders and setting up new solar power stations. Different political parties, civil organisations and the APGENCO Engineers' Association have faulted the procedures adopted under the new policy. The Governor wrote to principal secretary ( Energy) M Sahoo and asked for appropriate action on certain allegations of irregularities in inviting tenders for setting up of solar power plants in the state. Top officials of the Energy department told The Hans India that the APTRANSCO, which was given the authority to implement the policy, had suspended the process of finalising solar power bidders, who were qualified in technical bid, after the energy officials received letter from the Governor. In the technical bid, 184 companies were shortlisted last month. The officials said that the Governor had also forwarded complaints he received against the solar policy to the department. The main complaint was against authorising the APTRANSCO for enforcing the policy in place of APGENCO which has immense experience in establishment of power plants and played important role in the process irrespective of whether the units are built in public or private sectors. He also asked the Energy Department as to why the GENCO did not participate in the bidding. The officials said that the other complaints were against fixation of power purchase price ranging from Rs 6.40 to Rs 12 per unit without any scientific study purely going by the quotations received from the private players. In fact the pooled tariff for power purchased from solar power plants has been fixed at Rs 3.50 per unit by AP Electricity Regulation Commission (APERC). As per the policy, the difference between pooled price and the one quoted by the private players has to be borne by Transco in the form of subsidy. The APGENCO Engineers Association has been demanding to involve the Genco in the implementation of the policy. The Association also pointed out that the unwanted additional burden on the exchequer, on account of the new pricing, will be around Rs 13,000 crore over a period of 25 years, which would be collected ultimately from the consumers in the form of Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA). Non implementation of e-procurement method in the filing of bids by majority of the bidders was also one among other complaints. The officials said that the department will respond to the Governor's letter very soon by clarifying all doubts and allegations on the new solar policy. When The Hans India tried to contact Sahoo and Transco CMD Hiralal Samaria, there was no response. Under the solar power policy, government targets to generate 1,000 MW power next year. A nine member High Level Committee, involving officials from Energy, Industry, Finance and Industrial bodies, was also constituted to monitor the implementation of the policy.
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