Discoms these days don’t resort to load shedding and try to ensure power supply at all times. Rural electrification under the Saubhagya scheme has also led to increase in demand. Satyanarayan Goel, CEO & MD, IEX, tells ET Now.
Last quarter saw a strong volume growth for discoms. What was the growth driver?
The Q2 volume growth was driven mainly by the increase in demand across the country. Demand increased in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir. These states were active on the exchange platform for purchase of power. In fact, the same trend is continuing in Q3 also.
Spot prices also surged to a nine-year high. What caused the spikes and how did it benefit your business?
The reason for price increase in September and early October was we had early withdrawal of monsoon in September and because of that, hydro generation went down. Wind generation was also lower in September and the problem was aggravated by the shortage of coal in September-October. Because of that, the prices on the exchange platform went up. We had a significant increase in buy volumes and a similar rise in sell volumes. Today we have 25,000 MW of generation capacity.
We are not able to generate power mainly because of non-availability of coal. If coal is available, I am sure the rate on the exchange platform will be in the range of Rs 3-3.25. In September, the prices increased to about Rs 4.50-4.60 because of the high demand. As far as IEX is concerned, our transaction fees is not dependent on the price of power. It is based on the volume of power. Our revenue is dependent on the volumes transacted on the exchange platform. We do not get any benefit out of increase in the price. In fact, the lower the price, better it is for us.
Higher demand by discoms played a very big role in pushing up purchase bids on IEX. Is this demand trend likely to sustain?
Yes, that increase in demand is going to remain in the future also. Earlier distribution companies used to resort to load shedding but now that is the last thing which discoms are trying. They try to ensure supply of power and rural electrification under the Saubhagya scheme has led to increase in demand. With election in five states and the general election next year, the demand increase is going to continue.
CERC had recently passed an order that pricing changes by IEX need approval. What are your views on rates and their forward trajectory?
One of the stakeholders said CERC should review and regulate the transaction fees.
CERC has said that the present transaction fees will remain but any variation in the future shall be with regulatory approval.
Earlier, exchanges were free to vary their transaction fees. Now it will be done with regulatory approval. As far as the present fee structure is concerned, that remains. There is no change in that