Sterlite Energy Limited to develop India’s first ultra-mega-power transmission project

Saturday, October 10, 2009, 6:55 by Business Editor

Sterlite Energy Limited, of the Vedanta Group, has won the bid to develop India’s first ultra-mega-power transmission project, which is aimed at bringing surplus power from the country’s eastern states and the North-East to the northern region.

With the bagging of the Power Finance Corporation’s huge project by being the lowest bidder, Sterlite Energy has broken decades-long monopoly of the PowerGrid Corporation, which is run by the government.

In all, 8 companies – including Reliance Power Transmission Limited (RPTL), of the Anil Ambani Group, and Essar Power – had taken part in the bidding process for 3 ultra-mega-transmission projects (UMTP) that are totally worth Rs 5,650 crore.

Sterlite Energy Limited is the lowest bidder for one of the 3 projects – the East-North Interconnection System, of the Power Finance Corporation. The lowest bidders for the two other power transmission projects have not been announced.

It was in 2008 that the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) had commenced the process of awarding the 3 transmission projects: the North Karanpura Transmission System, the Talcher Augmentation Transmission System (Talcher-II), and the East-North Interconnection System.

Altogether, 13 companies responded to the request for qualification the stage for the Talcher Augmentation Transmission System (Talcher-II) and the North Karanpura Transmission. A total of 16 companies expressed interest in the East-North Interconnection System.

While the REC Transmission Projects, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Rural Electrification Corporation, invited bids for the first two projects – the Talcher Augmentation Transmission System (Talcher-II) and the North Karanpura Transmission System – the Power Finance Corporation’s East-North Interconnection Company invited bids for the development of the East-North Interconnection System.

Sterlite Energy Limited is a part of the London-listed Vedanta Resources PLC. Vedanta Resources, a major metals and mining company, undertakes mining of copper, aluminium, iron and zinc ore in India, Zambia and Australia.

Sterlite Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Sterlite Industries (India) Limited, was set up to develop, build and operate power plants in India.

It was after the Union Ministry of Power allowed the entry of private companies in extra-large power transmission projects that private players started participating in ultra-mega-power projects (UMPP).

Already, the Central Government has identified 14 projects for power transmission, to be developed under the tariff-based competitive bidding mode. The development of all the 14 projects is to be awarded on the ‘build-own-operate’ basis.

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