Winter slows down power movement; prices go haywire

Fog affects railways and flight movement during winter – a known fact. But this winter, mist and thin layers of snow mixed with pollutants are also affecting transmission of power, playing havoc with electricity prices.

Layers of snow mixed with dirt have resulted in the short circuit of a major transmission line – the Agra-Gwalior line connecting north India with the West. It has been down for the past few days. This has prompted load dispatch centres to wheel out lower volumes of power between Mundra and Mahindranagar, yet another long-distance transmission line that connects the North with the West.

North India is a power-deficit region while the West is power surplus. The latest development has resulted in excess power being generated in the West remaining unsold while northern India reeling under a shortage.

With excess supply, electricity generated in the West is being sold at around Rs 1.67 a unit, down from about Rs 2.60 a few days ago. Utilities in the North are being forced to buy power at Rs 4.47 per unit.

Power prices on exchange for southern India have historically been higher than the rest of the regions. But with the North unable to wheel power and supplies increasing, prices in the South have touched Rs 3 per unit, lower than that in the North.

Prices for power being sold by East India have also dropped to around Rs 1.67 per unit due to the reduction in transmission volumes.

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