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India's Torrent, Lanco are lowest bidders in gas-fired power auction

FILE PHOTO: Private security personnel stand guard outside the main entrance of the Torrent Power head office in Agra

(Reuters) - India's Torrent Power and Lanco Group were among the companies emerging as the lowest bidders in an auction to supply natural gas-fired power during periods of unusually high electricity use, a document reviewed by Reuters showed.

India relies on coal to generate about three-quarters of its electricity, and power generated from coal is typically much cheaper than that generated by gas-fired plants. Over half of the country's roughly 25 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired capacity is non-operational.

However, fears of power shortages while Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands for election this year have pushed the world's fifth-largest economy to turn to gas-fired power.

India's daily electricity demand is predicted to rise to a record 256.5 gigawatts (GW) in September 2024, up from the previous record of 243 GW in September last year, according to the Central Electricity Authority.


A unit of state-run generator NTPC Ltd issued the tender in January seeking 4,000 megawatts (MW) of gas-fired power, but bids were received for only 1,307 MW, the document from the unit, NTPC's power trading affiliate NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVM), showed.

According to the document, Torrent Power's DGEN Power plant in western state of Gujarat offered as of Tuesday to supply 770 MW of power at 5.63 rupees ($0.0679) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while Lanco's gas-fired plant offered to supply 355 MW at 7.02 rupees per kWh.

Torrent, Lanco and NVVM did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on the offers.

Two smaller plants in the northern state of Uttarakhand offered to supply a total of 182 MW at an average of over 7 rupees per Kwh each.

The companies emerged as the lowest bidders in an online auction, but the contracts are yet to be awarded.

($1 = 82.8770 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sarita Chaganti Singh in New Delhi and Sudarshan Varadhan in Singapore; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)