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Bhutan Concerned over Power Tariff Differential

Power tariff differential in export and import pricing could become an issue causing differences between the rock solid relationship between India and Bhutan.

Kuensel Online has called for India to revise the tariffs for export of electricity to Bhutan during the Winter months when the hydro power generation is low due to lack of adequate water in the fill area of the dams.

The report says that Nu 8.35 per unit for imported electricity is high whereas when demand soars in India with the rise in mercury Bhutan cheap export” helps to fill in the shortage”.

The Report states that power is imported by Bhutan at double the highest export rate whereas India Bhutan Relations and fair trade practices should lead to a lower price for import of electricity by Bhutan.

This comes as India has signed umbrella agreement with Bhutan under which India provides Project investigation, design and engineering services, constructional supervision and highly concessional finance for the upcoming hydro projects.

In return, India is entitled & is committed to purchase all the surplus power, after meeting the needs of Bhutan.

Presently, Bhutan is supplying 1400 MW of Hydro Power to India from Chhukha (336 MW) since October, 2002, Tala (1020 MW) since August, 2006 and Kurichhu (60 MW) since October, 2002.

The power from these projects is being supplied to Eastern & Northern Indian states as per the allocation determined by Govt. of India through Power Trading Corporation of India Limited [PTC].

At the same time Bhutan procures upto 600 MW of power, through PTC, from the Indian power market during the winter season.

The rates at which India supplies power to Bhutan are seen to be high as compared to exported power thus there is a call for a fair deal.

One way to resolve this is to create an energy bank in South Asia which can then meet varied demands through adjustment of low and peak loads between the countries during winter and summer season.

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