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DVC's Mejia plant sets higher target

Indrani Dutta

Mejia , July 15

WITH the fourth unit of the Mejia Thermal Power Station (MTPS) of the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) set to be commissioned within this year, the corporation's newest power plant is also set to emerge as its biggest unit, overtaking Chandrapura Thermal Power Station (CTPS).

The power station, whose first 210 MW unit went commercial in December 1997, has now overcome its teething troubles to emerge as one of the star performers in DVC.

Mr Basudeb Choudhury, chief engineer and project head of MTPS, said the fourth 210 MW unit is targeted for commissioning by September. This would take MTPS's total capacity to 840 MW. CTPS located in Jharkhand has an installed capacity of 780 MW, which has now been cut to about 720 MW.

The Mejia plant generated a net profit of Rs 258.2 crore in 2003-04 when it surpassed the generation target set by the Central Electricity Authority with an output of 4,026.1 million units (mu). This year it is chasing a target of 4,300 mu. It also has a plant load factor of 72.75.

But erratic coal supplies have often led to forced outages and consequent backing down of generation. Often, one among the three running units has to be shut down due to either non-availability of coal or its poor quality.

Mr Chowdhury said that the three units annually need one million tonnes of coal each, for which MTPS has a linkage with Bharat Coking Coal Ltd.

Although MTPS gets 90 per cent of its supplies through a dedicated merry-go-round system of coal dispatch from the mines with the remaining coming by road over a 145-km distance, it often goes without any fresh supplies for days together and is forced to draw on its stocks.

For instance, on June 30 MTPS lost 0.17 mu of generation due to insufficient coal supplies. Its generation plans are closely linked with its ability to export and the shutting down of the high voltage Pausali-transmission line linking the eastern with the northern grid has also brought problems for the Mejia plant.

Mr Chowdhury estimates that the plant lost revenue to the tune of Rs 39.96 crore between April and June due to lesser availability of coal on the one hand and backing down of generation owing to stoppage of exports on the other.

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