Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday made a fresh demand for nullifying the power purchase agreements in Punjab through a law, saying “hollow promises” of free power have no meaning until these pacts, signed during the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime, were annulled.
In a series of tweets, the cricketer-turned-politician also said the cost of power can be cheaper if the fixed charges being given to private power plants under the PPAs were not paid.
Sidhu has been raising the issue of electricity especially the PPAs for the past few days, amid a power crisis in Punjab.
“Hollow promises of Free power have No meaning until PPAs are annulled through a “New Legislation in Punjab Vidhan Sabha” … 300 units of free power is merely a fantasy, until the faulty clauses in PPAs are keeping Punjab bonded,” said Sidhu in a tweet.
The AAP had promised up to 300 units of free electricity if it is voted to power next year. On July 4, Sidhu had also pitched for providing up to 300 units of free electricity and round-the-clock power supply to consumers in the state.
“PPAs bind Punjab to pay fixed charges for 100% production, whereas other States pay No more than 80% … If these fixed charges being paid to Private Power Plants under PPAs were not paid, it would directly & immediately decrease cost of Power in Punjab by Rs. 1.20 per unit,” claimed the Amritsar East legislator.
Questioning the clauses of the power purchase pacts, Sidhu claimed that PPAs, which were signed during the previous regime were based on a “wrong calculation” of power demand in the state
“Peak Demand of 13,000-14,000 MW is only for four Months whereas Non-Peak power demand falls down to 5000-6000 MW, But PPAs have been designed & signed to pay fixed charges at the peak demand,” he claimed.
He also pointed out that there was no provision for mandatory supply of electricity during the paddy transplantation.
“Even more alarming ! There is No Provision for mandatory supply of power from these Private Power Plants during the peak season under the PPAs… Thus, they have shut down two power plants in this paddy-sowing season without repairing them & Punjab has to buy additional power,” Sidhu claimed in another tweet.
He claimed that the “faulty” PPAs have cost people of Punjab “thousands of crore”. “Punjab has paid 3200 crore just as Coal-washing charges due to faulty replies to pre-bid queries before signing PPAs. Private Plants keep finding loopholes to file litigation that has cost Punjab 25,000 crore already,” he claimed.
Sidhu slammed the Badals for the power purchase pacts, alleging these were designed to “benefit” them.
Alleging that the PPAs are “just another example of Badal family’s corruption, designed to give corrupt benefits to Badals… without any thought for welfare of Punjabis,” he said a “New Legislation & White-Paper on PPAs in Vidhan Sabha is our only path to Justice”.
Under fire from the ruling Congress and the AAP over signing “faulty” power-purchase pacts during its regime, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday to scrap these agreements but also ensure that any power shortfall is covered at cheaper rates.