T.N. grants first licence for private power distribution

Breaking new ground in power distribution, Tamil Nadu will soon have a private licensee for the distribution of electricity.

The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has permitted the India Power Corporation (Tuticorin) Private Limited (IPCTPL), a Kolkata-based company, to provide electricity to units in the multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district.

The term of the licence would be 25 years with retrospective effect from January 19, 2017, the date on which the IPCTPL was recognised by the Central government’s Commerce department as co-developer. This means that the licence will be in force till January 18, 2042.

As of now, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) is the sole distribution licensee in the State. It is supplying electricity to 38 operational SEZs, which are engaged in exports. According to officials of the State Industries Department, a little over dozen units are functioning in the Nanguneri SEZ.

The development assumes relevance against the backdrop of the position of the successive State governments, be under the DMK or the AIADMK, that electricity distribution would not be privatised. Sections of power industry had made unsuccessful attempts to make the government agree to privatisation of distribution network in cities, including Chennai.

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