Govt revokes order on sale of power by pvt co-gen units

 In a surprise move, the State government has told the High Court that it is revoking its order dated March 26, 2014—which mandated private players to sell all the power generated by them only to the State grid—as the “emergency” has ceased to exist and there is “surplus plus” power in Karnataka. 

The government had issued the order under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, saying there was power shortage in Karnataka and hence private co-generation units (sugar companies) and other players must sell the entire power generated by them only to the State grid. 

Sugar companies, however, challenged the order in the High Court. Their counsel, Prabhulinga Navadgi, contended that the State’s decision to invoke Section 11 was “arbitrary and illegal” as it could be invoked only during an emergency and that no such situation existed at present. 

Volte-face

The Energy department government defended the order for a week, arguing that there was power shortage in the State. But just when the court was about to give its verdict, the department made a volte-face by submitting that the State has adequate power. 

In an order signed by its deputy secretary, K L Ramachandra, the Energy Department said it had invoked Section 11 as various factors had led to an apprehension that there was a serious threat to the grid security and public interest. Deccan Herald has a copy of the order. 

The department stated that in certain changed circumstances, the “emergency” had ceased to exist. “It is observed that from the past one week, there is reduction in power consumption to an extent of 25-30 million units. There is also reduction in demand to an extent of 800-1,500 MW load. The State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) has been able to maintain grid discipline as per IEGC regulations by its actions. All the Electricity Supply Companies (Escoms) in the State have recorded reduction in demand,” the order reads. 

Changed power situation

Further stating that under such circumstances, the extraordinary situation warranting exercise of power under Section 11 had since ceased to exist due to the changed power situation, the government issued another order on Monday (dated 28 April), announcing the revocation of the March 26 order with immediate effect. 

Interestingly, the Energy department has said the consumption had dropped as the wind energy sector contributed 4.1 MU to the State grid and the peak-hour contribution of wind energy was between 250 and 400 MW. 

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