BEST gears up for steep rise in power demand

The vanishing mill lands are being revived into neck-straining skyscrapers. Although the developers and builders are planning chic-looking buildings with fancy names, the fact remains that this will put tremendous pressure on resources for basic amenities like power and water. For instance, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) that is already struggling in providing cheap power has anticipated substantial growth in demand for electricity in the next five years.

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As per the predictions prepared by the BEST for the next five years, the power load supplied to these under-development mill land areas will be an additional 30 mega watt (MW) in 2012-13 that is expected to scale to 150 MW by 2015-16. “We expect a quantum leap in the demand in power supply due to residential and commercial complexes being built on these mill land areas,” said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.

Most of the mill lands under development are in Worli, Lalbaug, Dadar and Lower Parel. There are 58 cotton textile mills in the city of Mumbai. Of these, 26 were deemed ‘sick’ and were taken over by the Government of India, 25 mills are managed by NTC (the National Textile Corporation), and one is taken care off by Maharashtra State Textile Corporation. The remaining mills continue to be in the private sector. Many new apartments built on these mill lands are being sold for the panoramic view the offer and a few mills are yet to be razed.

Recently, O P Gupta, general manager, BEST, made a presentation to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on a demand for more power expected by them in the coming years. “We have made a demand forecast of electricity to be supplied, after the land is developed, considering the current status,” said Gupta.

Each MW of power is equivalent to supplying electricity to at least 1,000 households everyday, having two tube-lights, a fan, a refrigerator and a washing machine. With the hike in demand for electricity in years to come, the BEST is already in process of making arrangements for the future.

“We are in talks with Indiabulls and we intend to sign a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for 300 MW with them,” said a BEST official. Presently, the BEST supplies power to 10 lakh consumers everyday and the daily demand is around 900 MW during peak hours. In winters, this demand comes down to around 700 MW.

On the other hand, they have signed a power purchase agreement with Tata Power for 932 MW. The State Government’s proposed Dharavi Redevelopment Plan and the construction of a business district in Wadala by the MMRDA are likely to push the demand for electricity further. Power experts claim that in next couple of years the demand is expected to touch 1,100MW and so such long term PPAs are needed.

As per the agreement with Indiabulls, the company will supply 300 MW at Rs 3.42 per unit as the base price for 25 years. The current agreement with Tata Power which will expire in 2016 is for 932 MW at Rs 3.54 per unit.

Did you know?
The first mill in Mumbai was set up around 1854 by the Davars in Tardeo
One MW of electricity is good to supply power to 1000 houses that consumes through fans, lights, a washing machine, a television and a fridge
Present city demand is around 900MW in peak hours
Demand is expected to touch 1,100 MW in two years 

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