A position of power

Print edition : April 08, 2005

The supply route of lignite for the Gujarat Electricity Board's power station at Panandhro in Kutch. - THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

GUJARAT Industries Power Company Ltd (GIPCL), one of the `Panchratna' companies of the Gujarat government, has chalked out ambitious expansion plans. It runs three power plants, with a total installed capacity of 555 MW. While it has already started work on a 250 MW expansion of Surat Lignite-based Power Plant (SLPP), it has been appointed by the Gujarat government a nodal agency to set up mega power projects using lignite reserves in south Gujarat. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government for 2x1000 MW lignite-based greenfield power plants in south Gujarat during the recent Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit. It is looking for a joint venture partner for the project.

GIPCL has a healthy balance sheet with a profit after tax of Rs.67.17 crores, on a turnover of Rs.865 crores recorded in 2003-04. The company logged a profit of Rs.90.11 crores on a turnover of Rs.652 crores for the first nine months of 2004-05. Part of the improvement in the bottom line has come from the debt-restructuring and cost-cutting measures adopted by GIPCL in the past couple of years. The company hopes to save Rs.60 crores in interest costs in the current financial year alone.

A large chunk of the savings has been passed on to the customers. Though GIPCL sold 2,839 million units of power during the first three quarters of the current financial year as compared to 2,329 million units in the corresponding period last year, the overall cost to buyers has reduced by Rs.20 crores. Among its existing assets, the SLPP was commissioned in 1999 and has an installed capacity of 250 MW in two units of 125 MW each. The proposed 250 MW expansion would use the environment-friendly Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion (CFBC) technology.

GIPCL has started the tendering process for the expansion project, which is likely to go on stream by early 2008, at a cost of Rs.950 crores. The project will enable optimum utilisation of the infrastructure already available in the existing power plant. Along with the new power plant, the company will also develop a lignite mine adjacent to its existing mine, for which new mining leases and all necessary clearances have been obtained. The new mining project is estimated to cost about Rs.150 crores.

GIPCL was promoted in 1985 as a joint venture of the Gujarat Electricity Board, Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd, Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd. and Petrofils Cooperative Ltd. The company has an asset base of nearly Rs.250 crores. In each of the existing three power plants, GIPCL has maintained an average plant availability factor of over 95 per cent. The three power plants are a 145 MW gas-based combined cycle power plant at Vadodara (commissioned in 1992), a 160 MW dual-fuel-based combined cycle power plant at Vadodara (commissioned in 1997) and a 2x125 MW lignite-based power plant at Surat (commissioned in 1999). Power from the 145 MW plant is supplied to participating industries, while the rest is sold to the Gujarat Electricity Board. With the new projects, GIPCL appears set to become a leading player in the power sector.

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