The commercial capital of India, which enjoys 24x7 power unlike any other cities of the country, is likely to suffer power cuts this summer owing to a dispute between the power distribution utilities Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport and Reliance Energy Ltd over who should foot the bill for 300 Mw of power which is required to be bought to keep Mumbai free from power cuts.
The city's present power requirement is about 2,700 Mw and installed capacity of the utilities, which include Tata Power Company PC) and REL, is around 2,200 Mw.
BEST does not have its own generation capacity and is supplied 665 Mw of power by TPC. Another 762 Mw power is supplied by TPC to REL. The rest is supplied by TPC to key installations like the railways, hospitals, airports and so on directly.
While BEST supplies power to the island city among Colaba, Sion and Mahim, REL supplies power to all western suburbs between Bandra and Borivali, suburbs between Kurla and Vikhroli on the central line of the suburban railway network and between Kurla and Mankhurd on the harbour line of the suburban rail network.
This summer the shortage of power is likely to go up to 700-750 Mw from the present 500 Mw. Out of the 500 Mw shortage, an arrangement has been made for 300 Mw of power which is sourced through sources like Lanco, Power Trading Corporation, Himachal Pradesh Electricity Board.
The rest is fulfilled either by drawing additional power from the state grid or making spot purchases.
The dispute between the two utilities broke out after BEST, which holds the chairmanship of Mumbai Power Management Group, wrote a letter a few days ago to REL, saying that around 300 Mw of power can become available through NTPC's plant in Kerala at around Rs 11 per unit.
Since REL is going to face a 300-Mw shortage in its distribution areas the BEST letter has suggested that REL should buy this power.
Speaking to Business Standard, REL official claimed that MPMG has been created to address the issue of the city's power shortage and not to decide on individual utilities' shortages, an issue that is pending before the Appellate Tribunal on Electricity.
Despite repeated attempts, BEST officials could not be reached for comment.
The next hearing on this issue before ATE will take place on April 4.