NEW DELHI: Private power producers and some state transmission utilities appear to be making a killing by selling electricity on the exchanges where rates have tripled owing to lower generation as a result of coal shortage, even as power secretary Alok Kumar asked states to watch out for generators gaming the market and take legal action if imported coal-based power plants refused capacity on any pretext. Data from the power exchanges for October 13 show producers and state transmission companies selling electricity at Rs 16-18 per unit against the usual rate of Rs 4-6 prevalent before the coal shortage hit generation units. Transmission Corporation of Telangana Ltd and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd were the top two sellers, commanding a tariff of Rs 16 and Rs 15 per unit, respectively. Sembcorp was the third-largest seller overall and first among private power producers, commanding a price of Rs 16 per unit. Jaypee Nigre Thermal Power Plant, Raipur Energen, Raigarh Energy Generation Ltd, and Jindal Power Ltd got a tariff of Rs 17 per unit. The highest tariff of Rs 18 per unit was commanded by Hindustan Power Ltd, Adani Power Stage-II, and Teesta Stage-III, the last one a record of sorts for hydel power. The tariffs on the exchanges are guided by the market principle of demand and supply and depend on the situation at a given time when buy/sell bids are made. The coal shortage has forced about 5 gigawatts of generation capacity to back down, creating a rush of buyers on the exchanges. A 30% reduction in an imported coal-based generation has further aggravated the situation. At a meeting last week with a representative of Tata Power, Adani Power, Essar Energy, which have imported coal-based plants, and officials of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Maharashtra, which have power pacts with these plants, Kumar said it was the responsibility of the power producers to stock fuel and not providing availability of generation capacity on any pretext was “inexcusable”. He asked states to use all possible contractual and other available legal interventions against wilful refusal of capacity and also watch out for gaming by generators. “If any gaming is noticed on the part of the seller such as not supplying under PPA and selling in the market (it) should be brought to notice of regulatory commission under intimation to the ministry without any delay,” he said at the meeting. Tata Power and Adani Power have both shut down their plants, each with 4,000 MW capacity, at Mundra in Gujarat. Tata Power said it was unable to supply power at tariffs in PPA as there was an under-recovery of Rs 2.50 per unit due to a spike in international coal prices. Adani Power said it was waiting for coal stock and would be ready to supply power at pass-through tariff as prescribed in its PPA.