2018, not an easy year for DGPC

May 24 | Kuensel
By Tshering Palden

Druk Green Power Corporation suffered numerous hiccups last year besides a huge drop in electricity generation hitting its revenue.

DGPC director Dorji Pavo Phuntshok said that the company’s challenges continue with resolving the teething problems of the computer control system, the nozzle injector system, and with the convergence in the underground powerhouse caverns and the failures of rock-bolts at Tala hydropower project.

“We’re making investments in rehabilitation and modernisation of the aging electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment of Chhukha hydropower plant to extend its life,” he said.

The performance of a few subsidiary companies is also concerning DGPC. The Bhutan Hydropower Services Limited that was created for specialised services for reclamation of underwater hydro-mechanical components such as runners is not working at full capacity. The facility was created for 10,000MW, but with the delay of the 10,000MW by 2020, the facility is not loaded optimally. BHSL last year expanded to manufacture Francis runners.

The award of major contract packages for 600MW Kholongchhu project continued to be delayed with the project yet to conclude a concession agreement with government. The 118MW Nikachhu hydropower project also experienced delays because of geotechnical surprises.

DGPC’s power plants registered the lowest generation at 6,574MU due to poor hydrology, especially in the Wangchhu watershed.

Despite the setbacks, DGPC maintained operations of power plants at their optimum levels with 99.5 percent power plant availability and 100 percent water utilisation factors in the operation and maintenance of its generating power plants.

DHI chairperson Dasho Ugen Chewang said that the company had maintained a power plant availability of above 98 percent in the past decade and water utilisation factor of more than 99 percent in the past eight years. The availability factor of a power plant is the percentage of the time that it is available to provide energy to the grid.

Despite the lowest generation hitting the overall income, DGPC came out of 2018 with Nu 4.5B dividend excluding the royalty of Nu 2.016B it paid to the government.

DGPC is working with the ongoing hydropower projects to expedite the progress. It is establishing the operation and maintenance team at Mangdechhu hydropower project which would eventually take over the project from the authority on behalf of government.

It also adopted a new performance management system that more closely links performance at the individual employee level to that of the Company.

Hydropower Research and Development Centre was established on the premises of THP to give it focus and to put it on its path to growth and expand on the centres of excellences. DGPC is now ISO certified in Integrated Management Systems to strengthen internal systems.

DGPC established Bhutan Automation in joint venture with Andritz Hydro for integration and manufacture of automation systems for hydropower and other related industries in Bhutan and beyond.

On the brighter side, the government of India’s revised guidelines for cross border trade in electricity is expected to help Dagachhu power plant fetch better tariffs with expanded accessibility to short-term energy markets.

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