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PGCIL to tap local bonds market to finance capex

EM News Bureau ,  Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 14:23 Hrs  [IST]

PGCIL-NECentral transmission utility Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd is likely to raise 8,000 crore to part-finance its capital expenditure programme for FY14. Speaking to the media during a recent press conference, R.T. Agarwal, Director – Finance, PGCIL, observed that raising funds from the domestic bonds market would be cheaper than external commercial borrowings. Fund raising is planned to take place in January next year.

PGCIL has planned capital expenditure of 20,000 crore this year, mostly directed towards its National Grid project. Apart from the local bonds issue, PGCIL will also seek long-term loan from multilateral agency World Bank and its associate Asian Development Bank. Equity contribution and internal accruals will complete the financing programme.

The transmission utility is also keen on focusing on its international business with opportunities emerging in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, UAE, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, etc. Incidentally, PGCIL has signed a $16-million two-year contract with Ethiopia Power Company, a power generation and distribution utility in that country. As per the contract, PGCIL will manage the company with a view to making it more efficient, apart from facilitating expansion.

Speaking about futuristic projects, PGCIL CMD R.N. Nayak discussed the pilot Smart Grid project in Puducherry. While the project is under active implementation, the Smart Grid control centre has already been operationalized. The top PGCIL official also indicated that a similar project will be taken up at Dholera in Gujarat, which will be along the alignment of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

PGCIL has also embarked on the Green Energy Corridor project that will facilitate integration of large but intermittent renewable energy sources like wind farms into the national grid. The project, yet in its early days, envisages to total investment of 43,000 crore out of which 22,400 crore will be deployed to set up inter-state transmission lines and 20,600 crore for intra-state lines. The project also entails the setting up of a central renewable energy management centre.

PGCIL currently operates about 100,600 ckm of transmission lines along with 168 substations with transformation capacity of more than 1,64,000 MVA. The Central transmission utility could maintain the average availability of the transmission system during 2012-13 at 99.9 per cent.
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