GE teams with Indian firms for power plant

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 31 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: General Electric Co. said it has teamed up with two of India's state-owned energy companies to restart a power plant built by the bankrupt Enron Corp.

After its bankruptcy, Enron's majority stake in the power plant in Maharashtra was transferred to GE and Bechtel Group Inc., which earlier held 10 percent equity each. Currently, GE and Bechtel together hold a controlling 85 percent stake in the plant at Dabhol.

GE's India head Scott Bayman said the company has joined National Thermal Power Corporation, India's main generation company, and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., the country's leading power equipment manufacturer, "to determine a course of action for restarting and completing the Dabhol Power Project."

The announcement came days after Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive and chairman of Fairfield based GE, visited India, during which he said talks were held with top government officials to find a way to restart the project.

The 2,184-megawatt Dabhol project, India's largest foreign investment project to date, was shut down in June 2001 after a dispute over electricity tariffs between then owner Enron Corp. of Houston and its only customer, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, which also holds 15 percent equity in the project.

The dispute also halted construction of a second plant at the same site.

Efforts to restart the project after Enron's bankruptcy failed because of disagreement among the stakeholders- including the Indian government- on debt restructuring and tariff plans.

"GE is pleased with the course of discussions with various stake holders in Dabhol Power Co. and looks forward to a complete resolution of the outstanding issues," Bayman said in a statement.

As soon as arrangements are complete at the site, GE Energy will dispatch its engineers and technical advisers to examine GE-supplied turbines and related equipment, the statement said. The company will consult the Indian firms to draw up a detailed work schedule to restart the existing plant and complete construction of the second plant, it said.

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