Coal-fired power plants totaling 166,000 megwatt (mw) would shut down if the Union Budget proposals are implemented, said a group representing the sector’s engineers on Saturday.
Nearly 4,000 mw of the thermal power projects pertain to Uttar Pradesh, said the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF). Thermal power plants totaling 15,000 mw in capacity and located in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Haryana and other states had already been served closure notice, AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey told Business Standard.
Terming the energy sector proposals in the Union Budget as ‘anti-people’ and aimed at benefitting big industrial houses, he announced the Federation would firmly oppose such a move. Powermen across India plan on protesting against the Budget proposals on Tuesday. AIPEF represents 1.5 million government sector powermen. AIPEF's national executive is meeting at Chennai on Sunday to decide on the future course of action, which could include work boycott.
“These old thermal power stations provide the cheapest source of electricity. After these plants are shut, the power distribution companies would be compelled to procure costly electricity from private producers and pass on the increased tariff burden to the consumers,” Dubey claimed.
The Budget proposes to install prepaid smart meters at the premises of power consumers and providing them the choice of selecting the power supplier, which Dubey alleged was a precursor to completely handing over power distribution to the private players.
Budget 2020 plans to do away with the current jobs of meter reading and revenue collection, thus adversely affecting nearly 300,000 employment opportunities.