NERPC Meeting Highlights Infrastructure Gaps In Power Sector - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Nagaland, Northeast

NERPC meeting highlights infrastructure gaps in power sector

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Apr 26, 2024 11:43 pm
Moa Aier addressing the meeting on Friday. (EM Images)

DIMAPUR — The 51st Commercial Coordination Committee meeting of the North Eastern Regional Power Committee (NERPC) was held at Niathu Resort in Chümoukedima on Friday.

The meeting, held under the Department of Power, Government of Nagaland, focused on crucial commercial aspects of the power sector in the Northeast region.

Stating that the meeting is a crucial activity for the NERPC, Engineer-in-Chief of the state Power Department, Moa Aier said that technical aspects of power operations often take precedence. However, it is crucial not to overlook the commercial dimension in order to ensure sustainability and efficiency of the power sector.

He highlighted the critical role of the NERPC in facilitating real-time coordination between the Regional Power Committees (RPCs) of the seven northeastern states, which operate as a unified entity within the interconnected power grid.

Aier also acknowledged the role of NERPC member secretary KB Jagtap, in securing a special dispensation for the region under which 60 per cent of the cost is shouldered by the central government, significantly easing the financial burden on the states.

Challenges in meeting power demand

While interacting with journalists after the meeting, Aier revealed that the current distribution infrastructure in the state does not have the capacity to absorb and distribute power efficiently.

Taking the example of Dimapur, Chumoukedima, and Niuland, he said that the distribution system can only handle a maximum of 90 megawatts, falling significantly short of the estimated 200 megawatt demand.

Beyond the 90 megawatts, “even if power is available in the grid, the distribution infrastructure lacks the necessary strength to handle higher loads,” he said, adding that even if more generation stations are set up, the power cannot be distribute.

Infrastructure strain and AT&C losses

In response to inquiries about replacing burnt-out transformers, he explained that distribution transformers, ranging from 63 KVA to 250 KVA, ideally shouldn’t be loaded beyond 70 to 80 per cent of their capacity. However, during evening peak hours, these transformers often experience loads exceeding 100 per cent for two to three hours, leading to burnouts. In such cases, they resort to connecting to other distribution transformers, triggering a cascading effect.

In terms of revenue collection and investment recovery, he noted that the situation is relatively satisfactory but there’s significant room for improvement, particularly in minimising Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses. In this connection, he highlighted the need for societal understanding and cooperation in addressing these losses.

Commenting on the trend in purchase and return of power, Aier said that the gap between purchased and returned power has remained relatively stable over the years, with slight fluctuations. Although the percentage of this gap may be narrowing slightly, the actual quantity of power being purchased and returned continues to increase, he said, adding that the age of the transformer is irrelevant as long as it remains functional.

When queried about the power purchase agreement (PAA) signed between the Government of Nagaland and M/S Halo Energie Pvt. Ltd on March 10, 2022, to set up the Greenfield solar power project at Ganeshnagar Industrial Area now under Chümoukedima district, the chief engineer (T&G), Penrithung Yanthan said that since the company “is not doing anything”, the government is now initiating for termination of the agreement.

Meanwhile, member secretary of NERPC, KB Jagtap highlighted about the formation of the committee and its functions.

He said that under the NERPC, there are various committees to address specific issues affecting the state power utilities including the Commercial Co-ordination Committee (CCC) which deals with all matters regarding power purchase, power scheduling, energy accounting, tariff, regulatory aspects etc.

CCC meetings are held on regular basis (quarterly) to discuss and take decisions on matters which are commercially critical for the state power utilities, and matters that cannot be resolved are taken up with the central government.

He also mentioned that northeast needs more power plants for self-reliance as the demand will continue to grow. The states need to have a resource adequacy as well as long term contracts with other power plants, he added.

At the event, welcome address was delivered by Kasho Chishi, additional chief engineer (T&G) and vote of thanks was delivered by SE  Dimapur and SLDC head department of power, Rukongutuo Suohu.

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Apr 26, 2024 11:43:17 pm
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