NHPC chief to pilot merger process for central hydro power utilities
The proposed merger of four central hydro power utilities under a single entity for greater synergy and operational efficiency will see National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited taking the lead role. The chairman and managing director of NHPC has been made the nodal officer to pilot the proposed merger. "The idea is to create a central public sector unit (PSU) of hydro power units," an official told Business Standard. The four central hydro power utilities are NHPC, Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO). The combined installed capacities of all these four utilities, currently at about 11,000 megawatt (mw), constitutes 30% of the total hydropower capacity in the country. They are adding another 17,558 mw.
Though hydropower generation had not been growing over the last decade, it is 17% of the total power basket. Land acquisition and R&R problems have stalled and delayed projects in the sector. Within the professional community, however, the proposed merger is being seen as a positive move. Welcoming it, All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) demanded different states replicate the formula to iron out administrative and technical problems in the energy sector.
"We would soon write to UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to consider unifying the different power utilities in the state under a single entity on the model mooted by the Centre," Federation chairman Shailendra Dubey said here. He further claimed unification was imperative to solving the power crisis in the state. There are eight power utilities in UP, including five power distribution companies (discoms) and a utility each for transmission, generation and hydo power segments.
Dubey said the merger of power utilities had been successfully implemented in states such as Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, while some others states were mulling over the matter. "The respective state electricity boards were de-merged in haste under pressure from bureaucrats and separate corporations created, although the Electricity Act had only talked of corporatisation and not unbundling of utility," he added.