Tata Power, L&T eye stake in Himachal hydro projects

July 29th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  


Shimla, July 29 (IANS) Corporate giants Tata Power, Larsen and Toubro (L&T), GMR Infrastructure and DCM Shriram are among companies eyeing a stake in hydro power projects in Himachal Pradesh, a senior official said Tuesday. Tata Power, the country’s largest private sector power utility, and L&T are trying to test waters in this hill state for the first time, and have evinced interest in projects in Lahaul and Spiti district.

DCM Shriram and GMR have already been allotted power projects in Lahaul and Spiti and Chamba districts, respectively.

Moserbaer, Bhilwara Energy Ltd and a subsidiary of the Jindal Group are also among the 102 bidders for 17 projects with a combined generation capacity of 1,968 megawatt.

However, no foreign company has made a bid.

An electricity board official said recent moves by the government against Brakel Corp NV of the Netherlands have discouraged global bidders.

The fate of a multimillion-dollar hydro-power project allotted to Brakel is hanging in balance for several months despite the company depositing an upfront payment of Rs.1.95 billion along with interest with the government.

The projects - to be located in Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla, Kangra and Chamba districts - will be alotted to private companies on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis, a senior engineer associated with the allocation of power projects told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Most of the projects are located on the river basin of Sutlej and Chenab in the Lahaul and Spiti district.

He said the electricity board was vetting the bids, and that the projects would be allocated by the year-end.

Under the state’s amended power policy, the bidder who offers more free supply to the state will be allotted a project, instead of the usual seeking of bids on an upfront premium basis.

The electricity board official said that under the Electricity Act of 2003, the state government was bound to provide power to the consumer at the lowest rate.

However, the private power utilities were likely to increase rates in order to meet costs of the free power to the government.

Himachal Pradesh has so far harnessed 6,370 megawatt of hydro-power, nearly one-third of its potential, and it is in the process of adding 5,744 megawatt capacity by the end of the 11th Plan.

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