Published On : Fri, Jun 28th, 2013
Latest News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

Power companies, facing shortage, to import coal, and recover crores from consumers

A powerful shock looms large over consumers as the acute shortage of coal is forcing electricity generating companies to import coal from foreign countries with heavy import duties. But the Central Government has permitted the companies to recover the cost from power consumers who are already in “shocking” condition.

Nagpur News: The proverbial “Foreign Hand,” is uttered by hundreds of times by the ministers across the country whenever a terror attack occurred. Now, the same “foreign hand” is proving a “helping hand.” The help is in the form of coal.

The power companies, after condsidering the ever growing demand for electricity, and no adequate supply of coal within the country, have been forced to import coal in massive proportions to meet their demands. The power companies, which import coal, have to bear the import duty in crores. Then naturally, the power companies would recover the additional cost from the “sitting duck” customers thus giving a “shock” with the bills of large amounts. The “shock” may prove “paralyzing” as thousands of consumers, already “harassed” by the power companies, would not be able to pay the much more increased amounts of the bills.

The present situation is gloomy as the power companies have been forced to resort to load-shedding due to acute crunch of coal day by day and the damand for electricity is taking the shape on a monster. The aftermath of coalgate was that many coal blocks, allotted to private hands, were cancelled thus forcing the power companies to spread their hands to foreign companies for meeting the coal demands.

The power companies like Adani, Reliance, Tata and other giant companies have been importing coal in massive quantity. On one hand, the companies are coughing up import duties in crores, and on the other hand, they are forced to supply electricity to consumers at “cheap” rates. Looking to the situation seriously, the power companies had demanded to the Government that they be allowed to recover the additional cost from consumers. The Central Government, acting on their “valid” demand, has permitted the power companies to empty the pockets of consumers with a rider that the permission would apply only to those companies whose projects were started from the year 2009. The projects are those which could produce 78,000 megawatt  of electricity per year, sources in the Western Coalfields Limited said.

The Government decision would provide a relief to those companies that were well short of target of power production. The Coal India Limited (CIL), now, would import coal from foreign countries and supply coal to various power projects. Even though the power companies have got permission to recover additional cost from the consumers, they would first have to approach Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for seeking its sanction to the proposals of power companies.

Now, the CIL would go ahead and make agreements with power companies for supply of coal which would make it possible to produce additional 78,000 megawatt electricity. But with heavy price for the consumers. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has shown positive signals to power companies to further “rob” the consumers by providing power at heavy cost. The citizens should prepare themselves for a “shock” when the next power bills come to their doors with “shocking” figures.