Power-starved Bihar to purchase 1,500 MW from open market

January 16th, 2010 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 16 (IANS) Power-starved Bihar will purchase 1,500 MW of electricity from the open market before summer.
The Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) had last year invited a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase power from the open market. “The response has been tremendous,” Bihar Power Minister Ramashray Prasad Singh told IANS.

Added a board official: “The BSEB has now extended the date (to receive bids) of the RFP in view of the response.”

The official said BSEB was hopeful of sourcing power from companies in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Chhattishgarh or Orissa.

Bihar receives 800-1,000 MW from the central pool despite the scheduled allocation of 1,553 MW per day. Its daily demand is 2,000-2,500 MW.

BSEB provides 400-450 MW to Patna alone apart from supplying 75-100 MW to neighbouring Nepal and 125 MW to the Indian Railways. Interestingly, Bihar generates just about 85-125 MW on its own.

Besides this, BSEB supplies 200 MW for maintaining emergency services such as hospitals and defence establishments.

Till two-three years ago, Bihar did not generate any electricity as its two thermal power plants in Begusarai and Muzaffarpur districts were not operational.

“Keeping this ground reality in view, BSEB had no option but to purchase electricity from the open market,” Singh said.

A severe cold wave is sweeping the state this winter — when the demand for power is low — yet it is witnessing repeated power cuts. The situation is likely to worsen in summer.

According to a report by environmental group Greenpeace India Society, the state’s per capita energy consumption is the lowest in the country.

“Bihar’s per capita energy consumption, at 75 KWh (kilowatt per hour), is the lowest in India and far below the national average of 613 KWh,” said the report titled “Energy Injustice”.

According to it, 30 percent of rural households in the state have been electrified.

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