29 September, 2020

The Contract Killer

Enron rakes it in as Maharashtra is forced to strike cheaper sources of power off its shopping list

The Contract Killer

Has the Dabhol Calamity that anti-Enron activists have been warning about for five years now finally struck? Yes, claim some observers, and it'll hit the electricity consumer in Maharashtra hard. In June this year, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (mseb) bought 236 million units of power from Enron's Dabhol Power Company (dpc) at the rate of Rs 4.96 per unit. A bill of Rs 117 crore awaits payment after the first bill of Rs 230 crore for pre-and post-commissioning charges until May 31, 1999.

Mseb bought this power because its own plant was shut for maintenance and repairs. The board bought it even though it could have gone in for cheaper power that was readily available. The Tata Electric Companies (tec) claim they have a surplus of 200 MW to 400 MW which they can supply at Rs 2 per unit. Maharashtra also has a share of 1,750 MW from the National Thermal Power Corporation (ntpc), the central power generation company, which it could have bought. This power is available at about Rs 1.30 per unit. But according to the terms of their contract, mseb has to buy power from...



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