BHOPAL : A single thermal power station — Shri Singaji Thermal Power Station (SSTPS) — eats up the biggest share of the overall fixed charges borne by discoms and produces the costliest power. Despite being expensive, the two newly built units have developed technical snags and come to a halt within five months of its commissioning. Now, when there is a surge in demand all over the state, only one unit of the power station is functional. The discoms have to pay Rs 1,987 crore every year as fixed charges for the SSTPS. As per a reply given in Vidhan Sabha last year, the per unit production cost of energy from this plant was Rs 9.38/unit, which is far above the money paid by the users. Thus, by selling every unit produced by this power station, there is a loss of Rs 3. The thermal power station has produced only 61% of the power than its installed capacity. Its annual plant load factor (PLF) for the financial year 2018-19 was only 61.99%. As per the technical specifications, an average of around 500 grams of coal (the coal that is being used there) should be utilized for producing one unit of power at SSTPS, but it consumes around 750 gram of coal for producing one unit of power as per the reports accessed by TOI. Thus, it consumes more than 50% extra coal, and this happens when the plant uses, refined (washed) coal, i.e., the coal procured from the mines is taken to washeries which are places were impurities are removed, at an additional cost, and then their fuel efficieny is also improved by at least 20%, said sources. Situated in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh , SSTPS has four units, two units of 600 MW each were built in phase one and two more units each of 660 MW were built in the second phase. It started commercial production in January this year. These have been built with investments of more than Rs 15,000 crore. When contacted, technical director of SSTPS, AK Taylor, said, “There are some technical issues, the system which allows to transport dry ash from the unit has not been commissioned there. In its absence, wet ash is transported, and it has led to snags. We had to shut down the units to ensure that no further damage is done. We are hopeful that the third unit will be lighted up by June 18 and the fourth unit would be lighted up in another two days.” “As far as additional coal consumption is concerned, we would raise the issue with the manufacturer, ideally with a coal of 3800 GCV, it should consume around 600 grams of coal for producing one unit of energy,” Taylor said. “There are other problems too, like manpower issues. We have started hiring and the process would be completed soon. Then there are issues related to coal quality. We are also working on it. Apart from it, coal transportation is also an issue there. And then there is local worker related issue, because as per relief and rehabilitation norms, we are bound to hire them. Now we have started a training centre for them,” he said.