Companies & Sectors
Cheyyur UMPP will make electricity unaffordable in TN, says report
Even as Tamil Nadu contends with rising electricity rates, the Cheyyur UMPP will place an upward pressure on electricity tariffs in the state, says a research report prepared by US-based IEEFA
 
The 4,000MW ultra mega power project (UMPP) worth Rs24,200 crore at Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu is financially not viable and would only make electricity unaffordable in the state, says a report.
 
The report prepared by US-based Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) for Chennai-based Indian Institute of Public Policy (IIPP), says, "...the tariff for consumers would be Rs4.9 per kWh (unit) in 2021, its first year of operation, and an average tariff of Rs5.95 per unit over its 40 year life. Every year of delay will push up costs further. These rates are up to five times higher than tariff costs at other UMPPs and coal-fired power plants."
 
In January 2015, the Ministry of Power terminated the bid process for the proposed 4,000MW UMPP at Cheyyur after seven private bidders pulled out of competition for the power plant terming the proposition unworkable. While the Indian Government has promised to revise the bidding guidelines to make the project more favourable to investors, any such move will only increase the burden on State Electricity Boards, consumers and or taxpayers, the report says. 
 
According to the report, additional reworking of the bid documents may make the project more attractive for investors, but will make it even more financially fraught for consumers and cash strapped utilities. It says, "Any new program design must either pass along greater costs to the residential, industrial and agricultural users or necessitate greater governmental costs (subsidies)." 
 
The cost of the (Cheyyur) plant would place upward pressure on electricity prices in Tamil Nadu, a community already contending with an ailing utility and the problem of rising electricity costs. “current and planned grid and transmission improvements, competitive wind and solar prices, an existing pipeline of projects for Tamil Nadu and greater resource planning have decreased the need for Plant Cheyyur,” the report says.
 
Equatorials, an Ahmedabad-based financial advisory firm contributed to the report by analysing financial information available in the public domain.
 
"Ongoing and planned grid and transmission improvements, competitive wind and solar prices, the existing pipeline of power projects in Tamil Nadu and greater resource planning have diminished the need for construction of Plant Cheyyur," the report concluded.

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Sunanda murder case: Tharoor's aides to undergo polygraph test
A court here on Wednesday allowed Delhi Police to conduct polygraph tests in the Sunanda Pushkar murder case on three suspects, closely associated with her husband and former union minister Shashi Tharoor.
 
Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma, during an in-camera proceeding, allowed police to conduct the polygraph test on three suspects after the trio give their consent.
 
Police had last week moved an application seeking a lie detection test for the three suspects -- Tharoor's domestic help Narayan Singh, his driver Bajrangi and his friend Sanjay Dewan -- in the murder case.
 
The lawyers of the trio told the court that they were ready to undergo the test but police had to follow proper guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
 
Earlier, police have recorded their statements as witnesses in the case.
 
Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a luxury hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014. Police registered a murder case on January 1, 2015.

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India ranks highest in global consumer confidence survey
 India, with a score of 130, ranked the highest in consumer confidence among 60 markets. The online survey released on Wednesday was measured by American agency Nielsen.
 
India's score of 130 was one point higher than the fourth-quarter of 2014, followed by Indonesia (123), the Philippines (115) and the United Arab Emirates (115), Nielsen said of its survey conducted over February and March this year.
 
According to the survey, the year started positively for global consumer confidence, with an index score of 97.
 
After a dip at the end of last year, when all regional confidence scores declined, it increased slightly or remained stable in every region except Latin America.
 
In the Asia-Pacific region, consumer confidence increased one point, posting the highest quarterly index score of 107 while North America remained steady at 106.
 
Confidence in the Middle East and Africa region (96) and Europe (77) rose one point each in the first quarter, but decreased two points in Latin America which scored 86.
 
"While confidence across global regions remained relatively stable in the first quarter, there is considerable variation across different markets," said Louise Keely, senior vice president of Nielsen.
 
"In the first quarter of this year, the key emerging markets of Brazil and Russia saw large declines in confidence for the second consecutive quarter, with the drop in oil prices and the political instability in Brazil," she added.
 
Saying that confidence increased in 37 of the 60 markets surveyed, it said China dropped another index point at the start of this year after a four-point decline in the previous quarter, reflecting the recent slowdown in China's GDP.
 
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.
 
Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

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