India’s latest power debacle is Enron times 20

India’s latest power debacle is Enron times 20

Enron Corp. is long gone, but the scandal it left behind in India has beguiled the country’s lenders for almost two decades.

However, if the bankers who financed the U.S. energy company’s unviable power plant in Maharashtra state aren’t ruing that 2,000-megawatt debacle any more, it’s only because they’re now staring at a mess 20 times bigger.

India’s total electricity-generation ability is 344,000 megawatts, a 72 percent increase over six years. The country, notorious for its outages, still doesn’t have a power surplus. But coal-fired plants in the private sector that ran at 84 percent capacity utilization at the start of the decade are struggling to stay alive with load factors of 55 percent. As much as 40,000 megawatts of capacity — equal to 20 Enron plants — has become stressed assets for the banking system. Read More

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