Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lube Oil Shortage at SPCL: South Andaman Might Face Load Shedding

Lube Oil Shortage at SPCL
South Andaman Might Face Load Shedding

By Zubair Ahmed

Another imminent power crisis is looming large over South Andaman with shortage of lube oil at Suryachakra Power Plant, which operates 3 DG Sets generating 15 MW power. Load shedding might start from next week if the required lube oil is not supplied by the Electricity Department to SPCL by 4th June 2014.

However, South Andaman faced load shedding on a rotational basis for 45 minutes to one hour on 31st May 2014.

"There will be a shortage of 5-7 MW in South Andaman, if all three DG sets will be shut down," said Biji George, DGM, SPCL. "At present we have only 1248 litres of lube oil, which will suffice for another four days, if one DG Set is shut down during peak hours," he added.

"As of now, we are running only one DG set during daytime, when the load is less," said Biji George.

"We are trying to manage the lube oil from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), but they don't have it in stock at Port Blair," Mr Pillai, EE, Power Generation, Electricity Dept told Andaman Chronicle.

Pillai is looking after the charge of Superintending Engineer too as Anand Behari, SE is out of station.

"The lube oil has to be transported from Kolkata, which will take sometime," Pillai said.

When asked why such a scarcity occurred, Pillai said that he is not aware of the reason. However, Andaman Chronicle learnt that the A&N Admn had to pay Rs 2 crores to Indian Oil Corporation, which was delayed due to administrative reasons. The payment was made on 27th of May and it is also learnt that the process will take another 10-15 days for IOC to get fresh stock from mainland.

"We have received only 20 (twenty) barrels of lube oil as against our monthly indent of 50 barrels for the month of May 2014. We have also placed indent for 100 barrels of lube oil for the month of June`2014 on Electricity Department, but instead of the lube oil we have received a communication from Electricity Dept to arrange the lube oil ourselves, which is not possible at the moment," said Biji George.

Electricity Dept in its communication dated 31 May 2014 said that the Dept at present is not having any stock of Lube Oil Mobilgard-412 and it further requested SPCL to make arrangements urgently in order to avoid the stoppage of DG sets and the power crisis.

The letter also mentions that the Department has already placed order on Indian Oil Corporation and they have not yet confirmed the date of delivery. It further says that IOCL is also not having any stock in Port Blair and expected from mainland by 15-20th June 2014.

The Superintending Engineer in the letter has requested SPCL to take immediate action at their level to avoid the crisis. He also says that the Electricity Department may not be held responsible for shut down of DG sets due to shortage of Lube oil at 20MW, IPP, Bambooflat.

Paving way for another blame game, it has to be seen how the crisis is handled by the Administration in the wake of the newly cropped-up issue.

The extra 6MW installed capacity of new Hired Power Plant (HPP) Sudhir Ready Gensets might come handy in the time of crisis. Sudhir Ready Gensets have an installed capacity of 16MW, but have inked a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Administration to supply 10MW.

The row between the Admn and SPCL is folklore now. No Authority, Tribunal or Commission has been able to break the jinx and provide an amiable solution to the problem. Even after 10 years, various issues related with the fixation of tied up funds and completed cost is still awaiting redressal. The ping-pong between different power centres, frequent threats from the IPP and the knee-jerk reactions from the Administration are all contributing to the mess.

The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the department and Suryachakra is alleged to be loaded in favour of the latter and it has been a constant source of irritation in the relation between the two. A detailed analysis of Power Purchase Agreement is long overdue. Since 2003, the Completion Cost has been a matter of dispute. Suryachakra had claimed an amount of Rs 85 crores as the completion cost whereas the Admn did not agree to it. The matter was referred to Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The dispute has been dragging for last ten years without any breakthrough. The cost of the plant was Rs 65 crores and the completion cost as claimed by SPCL was not acceptable to the Admn. SPCL had been claiming the difference amount of about Rs 20 crores plus interest which amounts to more than Rs 100 crores.

As per the PPA, the SPCL had to procure fuel as well as lube oil and store it in its 2000 KL facility at the plant. The first violation happened with the onus of fuel and lube oil supply shifted to the Department. However, at one point the Administration justified it saying that the decision was not wrong as the govt  department has the advantage of buying fuel on subsidized rate. Moreover, it was also accepted that SPCL was not in a financial position to stock fuel for 20 days.

Since 2008, Electricity Dept is providing HSD as well as lube oil to SPCL. But at the time of crisis, it is always seen that the Admn refers to the PPA washing its hands off expecting SPCL to make their own arrangements to procure the fuel.

Its learnt from reliable sources that the Department is trying to mitigate this synthetic crisis by arranging Lube oil from Chatham Power House. Quick steps are also taken to get the fresh consignment from Kolkata.

However, more than technical, the present crisis is an administrative one and everyone was caught unaware. Hopefully, the disaster might be postponed this time but the Administration does not seem to amend its ways.

No comments: