NDMC will remain its own discom, banks on generating own power

Centre's plan to give consumers option to choose power supplier doesn't make any difference here

The Centre’s plan to give consumers flexibility to choose their electricity suppliers may not make much of a difference in areas covered by the the New Delhi Municipal Council NDMC). 

The council is weighing the options of introducing private players in its area. But even with the introduction of private players, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) will not lose its role of a power discom in its area. It will retain the responsibility of distributing electricity with itself. So the portability debate doesn’t apply to a zone which includes Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, North Block, South Block and the Supreme Court.

In fact, the council has drawn up ambitious plans to be “power neutral” within the next one year as a part of the “Smart City project”. This means generating enough electricity for itself, including in plants which might be located outside Delhi.

And once it turns power neutral, the role of private players may become irrelevant. However, the waste-to-energy plants being set up by the council will be by private players.

The NDMC area includes VVIP zones, including Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, North Block, South Block and the Supreme Court.

“Even if we purchase electricity from private companies, our role as a discom will not vanish. The council can change the source of the electricity but will still be the end point of distribution,” says NDMC chairperson Jalaj Shrivastava.

With the VVIP areas and residences of several top government officials under it, security reasons would not make it feasible for the NDMC to hand over its role as the power discom.

“The major government offices and the VVIP areas come under the council area. We cannot shed off our responsibility as the discom in any case,” says Shrivastava.

 “Once we start producing our own energy and can meet the total demands of the council area within the same, the role of private players will be irrelevant. However, we will encourage private players to set up waste-to-energy plants,” says Shrivastava.

Challenge ahead

The NDMC’s challenge lies in buying and selling power. According to the NDMC, it has been running into losses of several crores as it is being compelled to buy and sell electricity as rates fixed by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).

“The problem that we are facing is that we have to buy and sell off electricity at fixed rates. Prior to 2006, the NDMC could sell off excess power openly into the market. Now, there is no flexibility and we have to sync in with the rates fixed by the DERC. This has resulted into the NDMC running into loss of several crores. We have run into a loss of Rs 150 crores annually,” says a senior NDMC official.

“However, residents of NDMC area have enjoyed the best tariff rates for several years before it was hiked,” the official adds.

The NDMC is looking at new schemes to experiment with generating power. The council is considering producing around 35 MW of energy through “contract energy farming”.

“The contract to produce electricity will be handed over to a company outside the state. The private company will be responsible for producing the electricity and putting it on the main grid from where we can access the electricity. We can also sell off the surplus electricity,” says Shrivastava. Rajasthan is a likely option though no specific site has been identified yet.

New schemes

The council is also planning to go energy neutral within the next one year.“We will develop into a self-sustenance model in which the council will be able to meet its own demands. By March 2016, the changes of going green will be perceptible,” says Shrivastava.

Apart from that, the council is planning to set up a waste-to-energy plant in RK Puram. 

Equipped with latest technology, the plant will be able to produce 96 MW of energy in a day at the rate of 4MW per hour. Around 100 tonnes of waste will be recovered from 170 tonnes of waste by eliminating metal.

Currently, NDMC areas produce 260 metric tonnes of waste daily. In order to be energy neutral, the council will have to rely on municipal corporations for more waste, says another official.

The council’s ambitious plan of rooftop solar project on residential buildings has not taken off yet. The DERC has not accepted the conditions laid down by the council, says an official. 

Meanwhile, 40 government buildings, including NDMC schools, hospitals, were also identified atop which the council plans to install solar panels. The budget has been set at Rs 1 crore. It is also planning to change streetlights into LED bulbs in the coming months to save energy. 

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