Reliance Infrastructure hits out at Tata Power

RInfra has accused TPC of planning to sell a large part of its capacity outside Mumbai; the utility says that this will push up costs for customers in the metropolis

The Anil Ambani-led energy utility Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) today hit out at Tata Power (TPC), saying that TPC plans to sell a large quantity of power outside Mumbai in order to rake in a huge profit.

“They (TPC) plan to sell a large part of the capacity outside Mumbai. This will lead to supernormal profits (around Rs1,200 crore) to TPC,” RInfra CEO and whole-time director Lalit Jalan told PTI here.

The metropolis will suffer from a shortfall resulting in power being purchased from outside which will naturally push up costs for the consumers here, Mr Jalan said.

Till 31st March, Tata Power used to sell 500MW to RInfra, but had threatened to stop doing so from 1st April on the grounds that the latter had refused to sign a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with it. RInfra supplies power to Mumbai’s suburbs.

The Maharashtra government then intervened and asked both firms to maintain the status quo till this month-end. With this deadline nearing, the private companies have once more resorted to blaming each other for not arriving at a PPA.

On 19th April, TPC told PTI that its 60,000-strong customer base would face increased tariffs if it continued to provide 500MW supply to RInfra at a discounted rate.

“As the State government has ordered us to continue supplying power to RInfra, we will have to procure power from outside. This will cost more to our customers,” TPC executive director (operations) S Padmanabhan had said.
 

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India’s first 700MW n-power plant to be commissioned in 2015

The reactor will be commissioned in five years and work on a second 700MW plant is expected to begin in six months

Nuclear Power Corporation’s (NPCIL) first indigenous 700MW pressurised heavy water reactor at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP) in Gujarat is expected to be commissioned in 2015.

Around 70% of excavation in KAPP’s Unit-3 site at Tapi has been completed and the foundation will be laid in June this year, NPCIL’s executive director (corporate planning) S Thakur told PTI today. The reactor will be commissioned in five years and work on the second 700MW plant in KAPP will begin after six months, he said.

In December last, NPCIL awarded the reactor-building contract for both Unit-3 and Unit-4 of KAPP to infrastructure operating company Larsen & Toubro (L&T), valued at Rs844 crore.

The steam generators for both the units are being manufactured and orders have been placed for equipment and components, and NPCIL is targeting completion of major procurement activities in the next few months, Mr Thakur said.

The cost of two 700MW plants is Rs11,500 crore and the tariff per unit has been calculated as Rs2.80 at current prices, he said.

Simultaneously, NPCIL is also working on two more units of 700MW in Rajasthan (at Rawatbhata) and the first unit (RAPP-7) will become operational in 2016, Mr Thakur said. 

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European flights resume after six-day shutdown

The International Air Transport Association has said that airlines lost around $1.70 billion as a result of the shutdown caused by the volcanic ash

Most of the European nations, including the UK and Germany, reopened their airspace today after an unprecedented six-day lockdown due to the Icelandic volcanic ash that stranded tens of thousands of passengers globally and caused airlines a loss of $1.70 billion, reports PTI.

All UK airports reopened under a new deal making airlines to agree to conduct “intensive” ash-damage inspections of aircraft before and after each flight. Germany and 18 other EU countries also announced full reopening of their airspace.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that airlines lost around $1.70 billion as a result of the shutdown caused by the volcanic ash.

During the weekend, carriers were losing $400 million per day, IATA said in Berlin, while describing as “conservative” the earlier estimate of $200 million per day.

Europe’s air traffic control agency Eurocontrol estimated last night that around 75% of European airspace was now open and only a small air-traffic corridor in north-west Europe remained closed.

Eurocontrol said that about 50% of Europe's 27,000 daily flights resumed their operation yesterday.

A spokesman for the agency said in Brussels that he expected the continent’s air traffic to normalise in the coming days.

More than 95,000 flights were cancelled across Europe since the flight ban was imposed on Thursday last in the wake of volcanic ash clouds which spread from Iceland to other countries in the continent.

More than 800 flights operated from Germany’s main airports yesterday before the full reopening of airspace, thanks to special permission given to the airlines to fly a limited number of services.

It required the pilots to fly manually instead of instrumental flights and to maintain a level below 3,000 metres.

National carrier Lufthansa, Air Berlin and German Wings and charter operator Condor availed of the special permission to bring back home hundreds of their customers stranded abroad and to ferry passengers stranded in Germany.

Germany's air traffic control authority DFS, said that the special permission was issued to the airlines in response to their request and the pilots had to fly their aircraft relying entirely on their visibility.

The decision to issue special permission for airlines was taken by Germany's Federal Office for Air Safety after test flights by Lufthansa showed that there was no risk in such “controlled flying” below 3,000 metres.
Britain's Aviation Authority had early yesterday extended the flight ban till this morning, but retracted its decision and allowed landings and takeoffs at all airports from last night.

Experts in the UK warned that the travel industry faces a “huge logistical operation” as some 150,000 Britons were currently stranded overseas.

The country's aviation authority announced a “phased reintroduction” of UK airspace from 10PM last night.

The deal—which amounts to a rewriting of current rules—involves airlines agreeing to making “intensive” ash-damage inspections of aircraft before and after each flight. They must also report any ash-related incidents.

Plane-makers have agreed to higher tolerance levels for aircraft flying through areas of low ash concentrations.

The decision was made after manufacturers, airlines, the British government and aviation bodies took account of new data and analysis that suggested flights could operate safely in certain circumstances.

Britain’s aviation authority’s chairwoman Dame Deirdre Hutton said that “some no-fly zones” would remain, but these would not affect UK airports.

A Downing Street spokesman said that UK prime minister Gordon Brown welcomed the decision by the CAA to allow UK airspace to be used.

British Airways will operate all long-haul flights from Heathrow and Gatwick but all short-haul flights remain cancelled until 1PM this afternoon. No flights have arrived or left Heathrow this morning.

Other airlines have warned that hundreds of flights may remain cancelled and urged passengers to contact them before making their way to airports.

The UK no-fly zone was dramatically lifted last night after a game of brinkmanship by British Airways (BA) head Willie Walsh. The BA chief executive sent 26 long-haul flights towards British airports and demanded that the air authorities allow them to land.

At first the planes heading towards Heathrow and Gatwick were turned away but last night Britain's aviation authority and air traffic control body NATS caved in and finally ended the flying ban.

Criticising authorities for closure of the airports leading the airlines to lose £200 million a day, Mr Walsh said last evening: “I don't believe it was necessary to impose a blanket ban on all UK airspace last Thursday. My personal belief is that we could have safely continued operating for a period of time.”

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