Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has taken serious note of Monday’s power failure in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, on Friday has set a deadline of 2023 for the completion of long delayed 400 kV Vikhroli transmission project. He expressed serious disappointment over the slow pace of project implementation despite it being approved way back in 2009. At the meeting with the energy department and MahaTransco, Thackeray said the timely completion of 400kV Vikhroli transmission project is important to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Mumbai.
Thackeray said the project will help bring additional 1,000 mw into Mumbai and thereby meet the city’s rising power demand.
Thackeray’s directives came four days after major power breakdown following grid disturbance. At least three committees and the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission had suggested an urgent need for further strengthening transmission capacity for the evacuation of more power in Mumbai.
MERC last year had scrapped the execution of 400 kV Vikhroli transmission project by Tata Power (Transmission) citing inordinate delays and lack of substantial progress since 2011. MERC had directed the State Transmission Utility (STU) to submit its recommendations within a fortnight regarding the execution of the project under tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB) route.
The regulator has further asked STU to set up a credible mechanism for continuous monitoring of the project to avoid any further delay. Timely completion of Vikhroli Transmission project is necessary for strengthening the transmission of power in Mumbai considering the rise of power demand by 100 to 125 MW annually. Implementation of this project will facilitate 800 to 1,000 MW of power import in Mumbai from the grid at 400 kV level.
MERC had noted that the prevailing constraint on the city's transmission corridor has led to a financial burden on consumers by restricting the flow of cheaper power 200 MW at Rs 3.94 per unit as against BEST's existing average power purchase from Tata Power (Generation) at Rs 4.34 per unit.
The regulator had cleared the 400 kV receiving station at Vikhroli in June 2011 with an investment of Rs 846.19 crore and the project was to be completed by TataPower (Transmission) in the fiscal year 2015-16. Subsequently, the regulator had approved the revised scheme in October 2015 for the construction of 400 kV multi-circuit Kharghar Vikhroli transmission line amounting to Rs 455.39 crore. The scheme was to be completed in fiscal 2018-19. Recently, Tata Power (Transmission) had revised the completion date at March 2022 for the Vikhroli receiving station and 400 kV Kharghar Vikhroli line.