By Anupama Airy
Mr Gurdeep Singh leads India’s largest power generation company, NTPC Ltd as its chairman and managing director. Just few days back, NTPC achieved a significant benchmark of becoming a 50,000 mega watt company. In an exclusive interview (his first after the landmark achievement of NTPC becoming a 50,000 mw plus company) to the Founder and Editor of EnergyInfraPost.com, Anupama Airy, Mr Singh spoke in detail about the company’s achievements so far and the plans ahead.
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It has been a great journey for all of us. NTPC is a big family and everyone is feeling very elated and satisfied. From being a coal focussed company, NTPC today is a fully diversified power company.
As we are speaking today, we have also commissioned the first wind turbine of 2 MW at Rojmal Wind Power Project (50 MW) in Gujarat, thereby marking its presence five areas of power generation i.e. coal based, gas based, hydro, solar and now wind. So today the company has diversified across the fuel basket and is generating power from solar, wind, gas, hydro besides coal.
While our capacity comprises of power plants, most of which are constructed by NTPC, there are also some which were taken over by NTPC and were turnaround totally—Talcher, Tanda, Unchahar and few others. All these plants when they were taken over were operating at a plant load factor of 20-30 %. Today, they rank amongst our highest PLF generating stations at 90% plus.
NTPC’s Koldam hydro project is generating more than its designed capacity, which is another matter of pride for all.
Besides, generation of power, we have also started our coal mining, which I call as the third leg. Earlier we only use to do to projects and operations, where we have excelled. And now we are successfully doing the much awaited coal mining also.
Renewables, as I said we are already doing in a big way, thanks to the visionary minister and government that we at NTPC have been able to move at this pace. From a power deficit country, we are today living in times where power is available on demand (may be not to the consumers immediately but atleast to the DICSOMs). So with all these initiatives, I feel proud to lead a company like NTPC.
A few words on the performance of India’s largest power generation company. Has demand for power come down and is it true that NTPC is backing down generation?
This is a myth. There has rather been an increase in power consumption by 6.5% in the country, which is a very healthy growth. Which country is clocking such a growth. NTPC alone generated 250 billion units last year and 276 billion units as NTPC group. When you compare with the total country that generated 1159 billion units, NTPC is almost one fourth of the total generation. The Average PLF of NTPC’s power stations is at 78.6% as against the national average of around 60.01%. Talcher is our oldest power plant, we are celebrating its 50th year, has a PLF of 93.3%.
How have the Government’s flagship schemes like UDAY and others helped NTPC?
I will be failing in my duty if I do not acknowledge the support from the parent ministry as also policy initiatives undertaken by our dynamic minister Piyush Goyal. The support of the government and its visionary policies has helped NTPC achieve many benchmarks.
While our top motto remain low cost low emission generation, I must share that the policy like coal rationalisation, coal swapping and coal flexibility has gone a long way in helping NTPC. We have been able to reduce costs and save Rs 5000 crore a year on coal on the back of these policies.
And mind you, this amount has been passed on to the DISCOMs and is a direct saving to them. Not only has this helped in making DISCOMs financially viable, helping them buy more power and benefit the consumers. All these benefits are part of the revolutionary UDAY scheme.
Today NTPC is collecting 100% dues from DISCOMs and all this because we work with the aim of being the low cost generator. We have been able to reduce our fuel cost by about 26 paise/unit and all this benefit is passed on to the consumers, we don’t retain anything.
Profit is not our prime motto, our main aim is to go on providing reliable, affordable and round the clock quality power to consumers. So this is the net outcome of the UDAY scheme.
Thanks to government policies, our coal consumption has gone down by 5.5% even as our generation has gone up. I would not say that coal quality issues have been completely resolved but there has been a drastic improvement in the quality of coal coming from Coal India Ltd (CIL). With CIL increasing production, we have been able to almost eliminate our imports of coal. In 2016-17, no new order for imported coal was placed by NTPC and the credit for this goes first to our minister and to CIL. All these coal rationalisation schemes have helped us reduce our transportation cost and use coal in the most efficient manner.