Tripura power minister voices concern over surge in gas prices

Agartala, Jul 10 (PTI) Tripura’s Power Minister Ratan Lal Nath has voiced concern about the recent surge in gas prices impacting the state’s power generation costs, according to an official release on Wednesday.

During the fiscal year 2020-21, Tripura State Electricity Corporation (TSECL) spent an average of Rs 10.66 crore monthly on gas purchases. This figure has since risen to Rs 30 crore per month in the 2022-23 fiscal.

“The recent increase in gas prices has significantly raised the cost of power generation in Tripura. I appeal to the Ministry of Power to collaborate with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to reconsider gas pricing under APM arrangements, which is crucial for maintaining affordable electricity rates,” the release quoted Nath as stating.

Nath addressed these concerns at the North Eastern Power Ministers’ conference in Guwahati, held in the presence of Union Power Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday.

Highlighting the challenge of gas supply shortages from ONGC’s Tripura fields, Nath emphasised the impact on the state’s predominantly gas-based power generation units.

“This is affecting the state-owned gas-based power plants and necessitating additional power purchases from the exchange market. The situation has posed financial challenges for the state’s power utility body,” it said.

Advocating for comprehensive support from the central government to ensure sustainable and affordable electricity services, Nath proposed reinstating the Power System Development Fund to strengthen advancements in the power sector.

He also highlighted Tripura’s proactive pursuit of solar power projects under initiatives like PM-DevINE and PM-KUSUM.

These efforts include installations such as micro-grid solar power plants, solar street lighting systems, and rooftop solar panels on government buildings across the state.

Nath further mentioned significant financial assistance secured, including a Rs 2,275 crore agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), aimed at bolstering Tripura’s power sector.

“Initiatives like the Revamped Reformed based Result-linked Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) and PM-JANMAN aim to enhance operational efficiency and provide electricity connections to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) households, notably the Reang community,” it quoted the minister as saying.