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Betting big on the emerging opportunity amid growing power consumption in the periphery of Mumbai, Adani Group aims to invest Rs 5,700 crore over five years for expanding its electricity distribution in the metropolitan region.

The group will build the entire power network ground-up to compete with state-owned Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) in the newer areas it seeks to operate in.

In an advertisement published in several newspapers in the city on Saturday, Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai (AENM) said it has approached the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for a distribution licence in areas like Navi Mumbai, Kharghar, Panvel and Thane district, along with its listed parent Adani Transmission.

The Adani group entered power distribution in Mumbai suburbs four years ago with the Rs 18,000-crore acquisition of the beleaguered Anil Ambani Group-run Reliance Energy. Adani group is also building the over Rs 15,000-crore Navi Mumbai International Airport which is expected to start operations in few years.

The group, whose assets include Adani Ports business, is also vying to distribute power to the country’s largest container port JNPT located near Navi Mumbai as well as adjoining areas like Uran, Panvel and the industrial township of Taloja.

The parallel distribution licence application submitted a few months ago is the first such move by any player under the Electricity Act 2003. The application was admitted by the MERC on Friday, following which the public notice has been issued.

As per a petition made public by the group, it aims to invest Rs 5,700 crore over five years to develop the entire infrastructure and it will take five years to build universal service capabilities in the targeted areas.

According the power sector officials, companies have stayed off the parallel distribution licence because of the heavy investments involved in building the entire network.

Given the infrastructure and industrial growth in the targeted geography, the group is expecting an 8 per cent growth in power consumption in the area, which stands at 9,700 million units per annum as of now.

As compared to this, the growth in the financial capital has been only about 3 per cent.

The notice said the Adani group will serve over 5 lakh consumers by the end of five years starting from grant of licence.

It’s a lengthy process to get the licence to distribute power, as it involves public consultations which will ultimately lead the MERC to take a final view.

The public notice said Adani Transmission owns over 99 per cent equity in Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai, while the listed company’s nominees including Pranav Adani, own a very marginal holding.

Power industry veterans Anil Kumar Sardana, Rohit Soni and Mehul Rupera are directors of AENM.

Adani Electricity has been distributing power in Mumbai for over four years and competes with Tata Power in the business. It has not been able to increase its market share in the areas it serves, and has been looking to increase the same. PTI AA HVA

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