Coal-Based Plants Can Pass On Retrofit Cost: Power Secretary

Coal-Based Plants Can Pass On Retrofit Cost: Power Secretary

Power Ministry is not mulling any amendment in laws for passing on the cost of retrofitting coal based-power plant to consumers, a top government official said today.

His comment came amid reports that the ministry is going ahead for changes in regulations to allow power generating firms to pass on the cost of retrofitting plants for meeting emission norms.

“We do not need to change any law …It is understood,” Power Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said on the sidelines of India Energy Forum meet here.

Power producers can always go to their respective regulators or electricity regulatory commissions to seek approval for increasing power tariff to recover any such expenditure citing new norms issued by Environment Ministry in December 2015.

A power sector expert said the industry has been dragging retrofitting of power plants to reduce emission, citing less clarity on the issue but it was always clear.

The expert further said since power secretary has made it crystal clear, the generators have no option but to go for retrofitting of their plants.

The cost of retrofitting a power plant ranges from Rs 1-2 crore per megawatt while that for new coal-based plant would be around Rs 5 crore per MW.

As many as 295 coal-based power plants have got more time of two to four years to meet strict new environment norms which were to be implemented by December 2017.

Environment Ministry had unveiled tougher norms relating to consumption of water, particulate matter, SO2, NOx and mercury for coal-based thermal power plants in December 2015.

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Bhalla said companies can pass on the cost of meeting new emission norms but it should be adopted in phases.

He expressed hope that the deadline for power plant emission norms would be extended by the environment ministry.

Earlier, addressing the forum, Bhalla said under rural electrification scheme, prepaid meters would be installed.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant highlighted the issue of 92 GW plants running on high pollution fuels-furnace oil, diesel and pet coke.

Kant was of the view that whether government does something about it or not, Supreme Court will take action one day.

He also highlighted other issues like stranded assets worth Rs 1.8 lakh crore in gas-based segment alone and India heading towards a situation where stranded power plants would be worth Rs 5 lakh crore.

He urged the forum to discuss these contentious issues including poor monitoring of rural and urban feeders, saying out of 1.2 lakh rural feeders, just 4,000 are being monitored. Read more

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