The much awaite dialogue between union power, coal, RE and mines minister Piyush Goyal and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa took place on Friday evening at a meeting that lasted around 30 minutes. It has been decided in the meeting that a team led by Tamil Nadu’s power minister,P Thangamani and top state officials would visit New Delhi to hold discussions on the UDAY scheme.
UDAY scheme has been devised by the Centre for the operational and financial turnaround of the state distribution companies and if Tamil Nadu signs the UDAY scheme, it will save over Rs 22,400 crore in the next 3 years and a further saving of Rs. 7000 cr per year after 2019.
Tamil Nadu’s Chief Secretary, P Rama Mohana Rao and other officials including its power secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), CMD, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO) would also be part of the team visiting New Delhi.
A state government release said that Tamil Nadu has added 8432.5 Mega Watts to the state grid in the last five years, making Tamil Nadu both a “power sufficient and power surplus” state.
Speaking earliar during the day at IIT Chennai, Goyal said that South India had achieved power surplus status due to various initiatives. Gas-based power plants which were lying idle for lack of fuel had now started operations, the minister said. Most of these plants are in South India. The minister said as much as 71 per cent of transmission capacity from the Northern and Eastern grids have been connected to South India.
“All these steps put together have led to South India becoming power surplus. They have the ability to provide power 24/7 throughout South India,” he said.
“With all the thrust we are giving to renewable power, we are focusing to further increase the transmission capacity to make it nearly three times more than what it is today, by 2020,” he added. “I am delighted to share with you now that on most days, power is available at the same price in North India as in South India…,” the minister said.
“In earlier days, South India had to buy power at five times the cost of Northern India. Now, we have almost got it on par,” he said.
The state government;s official release further added that Tamil Nadu has an installed capacity of 7,600 Mega Watts of wind power and is in a position to sell wind power to other States who require to fulfill their Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).
With regard to the UDAY Scheme, the release quoted Tamil Nadu’s CM pointing out during the meeting that she had already requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in her letter dated October 23, 2015 and memorandum dated June 14, 2016 to consider certain requests of the state government to ensure that the state finances are not adversely affected, while taking over the debt of TANGEDCO.
Jayalalithaa also requested that the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) which are Central Public Sector Undertakings “may extend co-operation by providing loans for both revenue and capital expenditure and also for the new power projects proposed by Tamil Nadu,” the release added.