2.38 lakh ton coal on books but missing on ground: TN Power Minister


Chennai, Aug 20 : Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V. Senthilbalaji on Friday said 2.38 lakh ton of coal has vanished from the North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS), belonging to state power utility, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO). Talking to reporters, he said the coal, valued about Rs 85 crore, is available on the power utility's books but missing physically. "It is understandable if 5-10 tons of coal is missing but 2.38 lakh ton is not there and the issue will be probed and guilty punished," he said. According to Senthilbalaji, similar probes are underway at the power plants in Tuticorin and Mettur. He said work on replacing 8,900 faulty transformers across the state at an outlay of about Rs 625 crore is underway. Senthilbalaji blamed the former AIADMK government for the mismanagement in the power utility resulting in huge losses. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report for 2018-19 put the erstwhile AIADMK government on the mat. Increased power purchase, coal handling, financing, and employee costs has resulted in the five Tamil Nadu state power sector companies incurring a loss of about Rs 13,176 crore, it had said. According to the report tabled in the Assembly, the TANGEDCO, last fiscal, suffered an increased a loss of Rs 4,862 crore, mainly due to higher costs. The CAG report said the power utility incurred an additional cost of Rs 7,396 crore in higher power purchase and generation costs. It also came down on TANGEDCO's coal management which resulted in a wasteful expenditure of over Rs 4,000 crore during 2014-19. According to the report, excess coal to the value of about Rs 2,317 crore was consumed in the thermal power stations owing to increased Station Heat Rate (SHR) between 2014-19 than what was stipulated by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC). The CAG also faulted the TANGEDCO for not checking out the reason for drop in the calorific value of coal which resulted in a wasteful expenditure of about Rs 2,012 crore. The poor quality of coal has resulted in generation loss of about Rs 171 crore between 2014-19. On the power costs, the CAG report states that TANGEDCO failed to increase the generation from its own plants and bought power from private companies at higher prices. While the power utility did not claim liquidated damages from two power suppliers for not delivering on time, it bought power at higher price. /IANS


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