Top Performers: Companies with the highest capacity and network addition in the past year

Companies with the highest capacity and network addition in the past year

The past year was marked by significant activity by players across the power generation, transmission and distribution segments. Sector heavyweights such as NTPC Limited, NHPC Limited and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid) as well as established private majors such as Sembcorp, Teesta Urja Limited and Sterlite Power emerged as the top players in terms of capacity and network additions during the year. In the distribution segment, Gujarat’s power discoms retained the top slot in the annual rating exercise undertaken by the Power Finance Corporation (PFC).

Indian Infrastructure presents a round-up of the companies that were best performers in 2016-17…



Based on an analysis of coal capacity addition for 2016-17, NTPC Limited emerged as the top player in the segment. The company added a total of 3,205 MW during the year with the commissioning of key projects such as the Kudgi super thermal power project (STPP), the Unchahar thermal power plant (TPP), Stage IV (Unit 6), the Mauda STPP II (Unit 4) and the Bongaigaon TPP (Unit 2). NTPC’s installed capacity crossed the 50 GW mark on April 1, 2017 and with this it joined the league of top global power generators. Its installed capacity base now stands at 51,410 MW (including 7,216 MW through group companies) – 44,004 MW of coal-based plants, about 5,984 MW of gas/liquid fuel-based plants, 800 MW of hydropower and 622 MW of renewable energy projects.

The company recorded a gross generation of 250 billion units (BUs) in 2016-17, as compared to 241.98 BUs in 2015-16 and a plant load factor (PLF) of 78.6 per cent (for its coal-based stations) during 2016-17 which was almost equal to the figure recorded during 2015-16 (78.61 per cent). Recently, the company raised Rs 20 billion through masala bonds in the international market, becoming the only state-owned enterprise to tap the masala bond market twice. The company also awarded several contracts for its upcoming projects during 2016-17. One of the key contracts was awarded to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) in July 2016 for setting up two TPPs of 660 MW each for Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Private Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between NTPC Limited and the Bangladesh Power Development Board. Another highlight for NTPC was the commencement of mining operations at its maiden coal block, the Pakri Barwadih block. The company reported a profit after tax of Rs 75.27 billion for the nine months ended December 31, 2016.

In the private sector, majors such as Tata Power, Adani Power and JSW Energy, among others, did not add any new capacity during 2016-17. Sembcorp Gayatri Private Limited (formerly NCC Power Projects) added the highest capacity in the private sector. It commissioned two units of 660 MW each at Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, which is the largest foreign direct investment-driven power project in the country. Sembcorp owns 88 per cent of Sembcorp Gayatri Power, while the remaining stake is held by Gayatri Energy Ventures through NCC Infrastructure Holdings. With the completion of the two units, the power complex will have a total installed capacity of 2,640 MW. The first part of the project was commissioned earlier.

Other private players that added significant coal-based capacity were Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited (Unit 2 of the 1,980 MW Bara TPP in Uttar Pradesh), Lalitpur Power Generation Company Limited (Unit 3 of the 1,980 MW Lalitpur project in Uttar Pradesh) and IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company Limited (Unit 2 of Phase 1 of the 1,200 MW project in Tamil Nadu).


Only five players commissioned gas-based power plants during 2016-17, of which the private sector accounted for 838 MW, the state sector for 62.25 MW and the central utility North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited added 25.5 MW of capacity.

Amongst private players, Pioneer Gas Power Limited added the highest capacity, commissioning the 388 MW Mangaon combined cycle power plant in Maharashtra. In August 2016, Korean Western Power Company Limited, a subsidiary of South Korea’s $38.7 billion power giant Korea Electric Power Corporation, acquired a 22.7 per cent stake in Pioneer Gas Power Limited for an undisclosed amount.

Emerging private players Sravanthi Energy Private Limited and Gama Infraprop Private Limited commissioned 225 MW of capacity each. In the state sector, Assam Power Generation Corporation Limited added 62.25 MW of capacity with the commissioning of the Namrup combined cycle gas turbine project.


In the hydro segment, of the 1,659 MW of capacity added during 2016-17, the largest share was contributed by Teesta Urja Limited’s 1,200 MW Teesta Stage III project commissioned in the beginning of 2017. It is also the largest hydropower project in the joint sector. Though the project was scheduled for commissioning in 2011-12, it faced major delays because of issues among promoters and a lack of funds. The Sikkim government holds a 51 per cent share in Teesta Urja through its investment company, Sikkim Power Investment Corporation Limited. The other investors include Asian Genco Pte Limited, Athena Projects Private Limited and PTC India Limited.

Meanwhile, NHPC Limited, the country’s premier hydropower developer, added 80 MW during 2016-17 by commissioning Unit 3 and Unit 4 of the Teesta Low Dam Stage IV project. At present, the company has an installed base of 6,667 MW from 21 hydro stations on an ownership basis (including projects undertaken in joint venture). It plans to add about 6,000 MW of hydro capacity by the end of 2022. NHPC’s power stations achieved a generation of 23,275 million units (MUs) against the target of 23,000 MUs for 2016-17. The company recorded a net profit of Rs 2,146.9 million for the third quarter of 2016-17, thereby registering a growth of 25.87 per cent over the Rs 1,705.7 million in the corresponding period in the previous year. In October 2016, NHPC commissioned a 50 MW wind project at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan marking its entry into the renewable energy segment. In July 2016, it also signed an MoU with BHEL to explore and avail of business opportunities in overseas markets for developing hydro projects.

The remaining hydro capacity was added by state entities Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited (with the commissioning of 120 MW Pulichintala and two units of the 240 MW Lower Jurala projects), Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (65 MW Kashang project), and Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited (two units of the 50 MW Nagarjuna Sagar Tail Pond Project), and private player IA Energy, a special purpose vehicle of Indo Arya Central Transport Limited which commissioned two units of its maiden Chanju 1 project in Himachal Pradesh.


In the transmission segment, the top performer was Powergrid, the country’s central transmission utility, which transmits over 45 per cent of the power generated in the country. It added more than 11,000 ckt. km of transmission line length during 2016-17. A key transmission project commissioned by Powergrid in 2016-17 was the 1,500 MW Pole I of the ±800kV Champa-Kurukshetra transmission system, which was designed using state-of-the-art high voltage direct current technology. The project will enable the transfer of power from independent power producer (IPP) generation projects coming up in Chhattisgarh to demand centres in the northern region. Another highlight for Powergrid during the year was the company’s market capitalisation crossing the Rs 1,000 billion mark. The company currently owns 134,750 ckt. km of transmission lines and 280,362 MVA of transformer capacity (as of January 2017). The capex invested by it during the year was Rs 225.5 billion (targeted). Amongst the state transcos, those of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana added the highest line length during 2016-17.

In the private sector, Sterlite Power added the maximum transmission line length. A key project commissioned by the company during the year was the 400 kV DC Purulia-Kharagpur transmission project (January 2017) which was won by it through the tariff-based competitive bidding route. It is the fifth transmission project to be commissioned by the company, which has 4,063 ckt. km of operational transmission lines spread across 11 states and two substations.


In the distribution segment, five discoms emerged as the top performers with a grade of A+ as per the latest rankings released by PFC in May 2017. These were all four state discoms of Gujarat (Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company LImited, Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited, Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited and Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited), which retained their top slot for the fifth year in a row, and Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited.

The Gujarat discoms have maintained a consistent track record of profitable operations aided by cost-reflective tariffs, healthy cash collections and adequate subsidy support from the state government, notes PFC in its report. Further, these discoms reported a comfortable cost coverage ratio and capital structure.

Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited, which has made continuous improvements in curbing transmission losses and has a collection efficiency of 107.8 per cent (with no subsidy from the state government), has moved up into the top five alongside the Gujarat utilities.

The report also notes that Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were the best performers on cost coverage. Four discoms which showed a more than 15 per cent improvement in this parameter are Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited, Kanpur Electricity Supply Company Limited, Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited and Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited.


The past year saw high capacity and network additions; however, this was largely led by public sector players. The fact remains that a large number of private sector players still face challenges. Generation companies continued to grapple with issues of low plant PLFs of thermal power stations. Many IPPs still exhibit a weak liquidity profile because of their high exposure to offtaker risks. Their projects have become unviable as the high cost of imported fuel has not been allowed as a pass-through. Investments in the sector are still subdued and there were no new project announcements either in the coal, gas or hydro segments by private gencos. Gas-based developers face uncertainty after the withdrawal of the subsidised imported gas scheme. In the distribution segment too, the PFC ratings report notes that the cost coverage  ratio  for  most  discoms (25  out  of  41  rated)  remained  low  (less than 0.9)  due  to the substantial increase in expenses and non-cost- reflective tariffs. The silver lining though is that the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana and the improvement in coal production have helped ease some of the sector constraints.