Praveer Sinha, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) speaks to
Shakeb Ayaz about power crisis in Delhi, the need for multi
sourcing from different power plants, multi transmission system,
annual increases in consumption and demand and transparency
of power tariff fixation by the regulator in Delhi. Excerpts.
What is your take on current
power crisis in Delhi?
I can only speak about our area (north
and north-west Delhi). In our area there is
no crisis. We are supplying 100 per cent
power to our consumers. There is no load
shedding, there is no power cut. Only for
one day there were issues -- on May 30,
when thunderstorm and rains impacted
supply through the transmission lines
of Delhi Transco. Our distribution lines
were also affected. At least 1,000 of
power supply poles were uprooted due
to trees falling on them. But within five
hours we resumed power supply to all
our main consumers like Delhi Jal Board,
DMRC and government offices.
Within five hours we restored 50 per
cent of power. In 12 hours we restored
80 per cent of our power, while within
24 hours we started supplying power by
nearly 100 per cent barring some villages
in remote areas in Narela and Bawana,
where the damage were maximum as
poles had been uprooted in kilometers
of area. Lines were down, and it took
lot of time as first the trees had to be
removed. After May 31, we have been
steadily maintaining our supplies. In our
areas there is no shortage despite the
transmission lines like Rohini-Bawana
line was not up and part restoration was
done by June 10. The part restoration
of Mandola-Gopalpur line was done on
June 5. In spite of all these problems
we supplied power with the aid of our
network which is very robust.
Are there issues about shortage
of supply of power to the
As far as we are
concerned there is
no shortage of
tie up for peak
months and we
also keep little
margin to take care of
any contingency. Typically in summer
months, some power plants face technical
snag and they are down, To take care
of those contingency also we tie up for
additional power to meet the emergency
needs. We have been able to meet our
peak requirement in summer and on
June 19 we met out peak requirement
of power, both in terms of energy and in
terms of megawatt. Maximum supply
was 1628 mw without any power cut in
our area or without any load shedding.
This is the highest that we have supplied
in last 12 years. In terms of MU also we
supplied 33.13 MUs compared to last
year’s 30.3 MU. Again we have been able to cater to full requirement of
power and this is in spite of the
fact that still some main lines are
down and repair work is going
on. TPDDL has tied up sufficient
power till FY18 and foresees no
power shortage till then.
Are power companies procuring
or buying power due to
TPDDL has made adequate long term
power arrangements to meet the demand
of its consumers. We typically have
long term PPAs with power producing
companies. If required, we also procure
power through exchanges; bilateral
contracts etc. to meet contingencies
at the time of peak load. In addition,
what we additionally do is banking, that
in winter months we supply power to
some of hilly states when their major
source of power, rivers are frozen, and
during summer months when rivers
are in full flow they return the power to us. Thus with the help of banking
arrangement we get large quantity of
power during summer months and also
during monsoon months when due to
high humidity there is high consumption
of power. So, we do efficient planning
and ensure that there is no shortage of
power. We also carry out lots of work
on our networks during winter months
and take care of maintenance activities.
Both from our network perspective and
power availability we ensure that there
is no shortage in power supply or load
shedding for our consumers.
Are you happy with the current
power rates that your company
gets from the consumers?
The rates are determined by the
regulatory commission and they are
dependent on cost of power purchase,
capital related cost, financing cost and
also the regulatory assets which have
accumulated over a period of time. For us
the regulatory asset that has accumulated
is about `5,100 crore and we financed
the same through loans. The tariff today
reflects all the components; there is
also a Regulatory Deficit Surcharge for
amortizing the Regulatory Assets. Tariff
needs to be cost reflective to take care
of both repayments of principle and repayment
Are you happy the way power
tariff is fixed with the help
Sure, we have seen that in the last three
or four years, the regulatory commission
has come up with regular orders and
has also taken cognizance of power
purchase adjustments that take place.
The generating company revises the
power tariff on regular basis based on
the cost of power, depending upon the
cost of coal or other gas. To take care of
that power purchase adjustment cost has
been brought in to the tariff and though
it does not fully reflect the deviations
in power purchase, it mitigates the
same to some extent and hopefully it would be reflective in coming years.
The regulatory asset which is there, also
needs to be addressed, same has been
partly addressed in the present tariff.
And whatever gap is there hopefully the
regulatory commission will take care of
that. The old process will move more
cost reflective and we will get a tariff on
which we can service our consumers.
There have been issues about
fixing the power tariff. How far is
the process transparent?
The process is transparent. The tariffs for
generation and distribution companies
are determined by the appropriate
regulatory commissions as per the
existing regulations. There is also the
concept of public hearing wherein concerns of all stakeholders are given
cognizance and reflected through the
tariff fixation process. Tariff fixation is
also done after undertaking prudence
check which lends further transparency
to the process.
There have been issues with
NTPC, with the power behemoth
threatening to cut supplies.
We do not have any issue with the
NTPC. We are up to date with the power
behemoth or any other power generator
or transmission companies for payments.
Poor transmission system is
now suddenly being blamed
for shortage of power supply in
national capital. For the last five to six years everything appeared
to be fine.
Increase in consumption takes place
every year, and even existing consumers
add more electric equipment and gadgets
in their houses, so consumption yearon-
year basis keeps on multiplying. And
in the last 10 years if we see the peak
consumption was 3,000 mw which has
now gone up to nearly 6,000 mw in
2014. We need to keep on adding more to
the transmission and distribution system.
Over a period of time new grid stations
have been added like 220 kv or 400 kv.
However the pace at which the growth
is taking in consumption and the pace at
which the growth in network is taking
place did not keep pace, that is why we
saw during the storm that there was a
blip and the transmission companies
could not meet the load requirement.
But several projects are already
In our areas Delhi Transco has
taken lots of projects. Some projects
are running little behind schedule
which will get completed. We also
need to understand that in electricity
transmission and distribution we work
on a concept called n-1. Even if one line
is down power could be supplied from
other line. This we saw this summer
when the Bawana Rohini line was
down we were able to supply 450 mw
of power. We could bring power from
alternate sources and we brought power
from Bawana-Shalimar Bagh line.
We could bring power from Narela to
Rohini. Numbers of alternate methods
were used to meet the crisis. We were
able to transport 200 mw and at some
place even 100 mw using alternative
methods. Typically in transmission and
distribution we work on the concept of
n-1 which helps mitigate the crisis.
What steps need to be taken so
that such a situation does not
We need to go with multi approach,
means the supply has to be multi sourced
from different power plants. And there
should be multi transmission system
whereby even if one system collapses
or two systems collapse we can have
alternate ways in moving the power from
one area to other area. I think rigorous
planning is required to be undertaken
by both the transmission companies and
distribution companies. It should be done
in a way that there is no blackout in an
area. This is a continuous process we
need to keep on updating the network to
meet future challenges.
What kind of investment is your
company planning to strengthen
power infrastructure of the
Every year, we put about `300-350
crore for cutting down of AT&C losses,
reliability improvement and meeting the
future load growth. There is large scale
investment. We do work on technology
related areas. We are putting up smart
meters and in next four years we will fix
about three lakhs smart meters. In last
12 years we have put over `4,000 crore
investment to strengthen the network, IT
and automation works.
What is the total requirement of
power in a calendar date in Delhi?
The peak power requirement in our
area is 1600-1700 mw, we are meeting
our target. For Delhi it is 6,000 mw
or may be 6,100 mw depending upon
temperature, humidity and network
ability to supply the peak requirement.
Last year it was 5,653 mw, prior to that
the peak was 5,642 mw. Every year we
are meeting the peak requirement.
There are issues of rise in cost of
gas from $4.2 to $8.4? How much
that will impact the cost of power?
With the variable cost of gas based power
plants, as per our calculation, we expect
that the average tariff of gas based plants
will go up from `4 to `6. Then we have
to add the transmission and distribution
cost. It will become very difficult for
distribution companies to afford that
power. The plants would also find it
difficult to get scheduled under merit
order despatch principle.
If the price of gas rises,
distribution companies might not
like to buy expensive power, won’t
that impact the sustainability of
gas based power plants?
Absolutely, it will impact the power
sector. The distribution companies
may not schedule power from them.
Only to meet their peak requirement or
emergency requirement the power may
be scheduled from them.
You mean to say, that
distribution companies will
shy away from entering long
terms PPA (power purchase
agreements) from them?
In future no distribution companies will
try to ink PPAs with them, neither short
term nor medium term or long term.
There would be other sources of power
which will be cheaper than gas-based
How can the transmission
system be further improved? Is privatization the answer?
As per the Electricity Act the
transmission has to be with the
government. When it is inter-state
the Power Grid Corporation is there.
If it is within the state it is the state
transmission companies that will
look after transmission. The law itself
prohibits outsiders from entering the
segment until there are specific lines
which have been built which can be
done under PPP or JVs. Typically
transmission has been kept out of 100
per cent private control, while they are
allowed in generation and distribution.
However there is a need to enhance
the power density of Transmission
Corridors enabling high mw transfer.
How does your company plan your
expansion in the power sector and
how do you see the response of
consumers and market?
Basically under the present situation
the company has mandate to carry out
power distribution in the geographical
area of North and North West
part of Delhi for which it has got
licence. We have the expertise and
knowledge which we are leveraging
to provide consultancy services to
other companies in India and abroad.
As far as taking distribution in other
states, this compan y does not have the
mandate to do so. It will be restricted
to Delhi only. At least six to seven (it
is 4-5%) per cent growth takes place
every year, and we are geared up to
meet that challenge.
As reform process takes place
and grows up do you feel that
more and more second tier cities
would be brought under such kind
None of these cities have shown that inclination. The supply of electricity is
a state subject and it is left on the states
to take that call. There are issues linked
to employees resistance and political
unwillingness and thereby State
Government will have to take a call on
the model to be adopted, say whether
100 per cent private stake or publicprivate
ventures or franchisee models.
However ensuring commercial viability
would be critical for the sustenance of
the power sector.
How do you see the CAG audit of
power companies in Delhi?
The CAG audit is going very smoothly,
though the matter is still sub-judice and
the court has to take a decision on the
issue of jurisdiction of CAG to audit
a public private company. But from
our side we are cooperating with the
audit team and the process is going on
Please throw light on the
solar initiative your company
We have taken up the solar initiative
to meet our peaking requirement of
power, we are getting a study done
for which we have got a grant of USD
450,000 from USTDA. This study
is being done by E3, a US based
company which will determine what
kind of architecture and network is
required for roof top solar and also
what kind of policy direction or eco
system that needs to be provided.
Nearly 200 mw by 2020 of roof top
solar could be used in our area to meet
our peaking requirement of power in
summer months in Delhi area. Along
with demand response projects we
expect to meet our peaking demand
from roof top solar. TPDDL also has
established distributed solar generation
capacities over a range of 1 mw to 4
kW cumulating to a total capacity of
1.65 mw in its distribution network.