The power ministry has asked Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to regularly monitor the implementation of ultra mega power projects (UMPPs), with generation capacity of about 4,000 Mw each. Currently, implementation of four such projects are underway, of which three are being developed by Reliance Power (Sasan, Krishnapatnam and Tilaiya) and the fourth - Mundra project - is by Tata Power.
A power ministry official, who did not want to be named, told Business Standard, "Periodical monitoring is necessitated to avoid any slippages in the commissioning of the projects in a phased manner. CEA and the Power Finance Corporation, which is a nodal agency for the UMPP implementation, can in fact carry out monitoring separately so that the developers stick to the stipulated timelines."
The official said that the ministry wanted that the UMPP development should go hand-in-hand with laying of transmission lines for evacuation of power. This would address the issue of congestion in transmission network. The official said the ministry was concerned over the revised schedule from Reliance Power for the commissioning of the first unit of the 660-Mw Sasan project in January 2013 instead of March 2012.
The company argued that January 2013 was quite ahead of the schedule stipulated in the revised power purchase agreement (PPA). The company had informed that the boiler foundation work for Unit-II and Unit-III had already been completed.
As far as Krishnapatnam UMPP in Andhra Pradesh is concerned, the official said Reliance Power had originally proposed 5x800 Mw units. Subsequently, the developer had obtained consent of procurers for change in unit size. The company had received approval from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for a change in the unit configuration to 6x660 Mw. Amended PPA for 6x660 Mw had been executed with the procurers. The first unit is expected to be commissioned in June 2013. In the case of the Tilaiya UMPP in Jharkhand, the project developer had received forest clearance in November last year and started ground work.