Delhi’s power crisis worsened with the Supreme Court allowing NTPC to cut supply to BSES electricity distribution companies (discoms) in case BSES’ firms BSES Rajdhani Power (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power (BYPL) are unable to clear Rs 788 crore of dues by the end of the month. In addition, NTPC will present another bill of around Rs 400 crore to BSES in June for electricity supplied in May.
An SC bench comprising justices SS Nijjar and AK Sikri on Tuesday directed the two BSES discoms to pay up “as per the figures, duly signed by both NTPC and BSES firms, submitted to the court... Now that you are agreeing on the figures yourself, you should clear the current dues. All this is (of) your own making. The other company (Tata Power Delhi Distribution or TPDDL) doesn’t have any problem. We are talking about present dues and not past dues... We have to balance the equity...”
Though the current discussion in the Supreme Court is only about NTPC’s dues, several other suppliers who have not been paid — as of March 31, BSES’ dues were R6,412 crore — may also start cutting off supply. Damodar Valley Corporation is in the Supreme Court against BSES and Aravali Power is at the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity.
BSES, for its part, has said it does not have the money to pay as the R10,000-crore loan it has approached Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation for is contingent on the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) hiking its tariffs so that it can quickly get back R20,700 crore due to it by way of ‘regulatory assets’.
In addition, BSES also runs up a deficit — the difference between its costs and the revenues it gets from customers — each month, which prevents it from paying even the recurring bills of suppliers. In the case of BRPL, in January-March 2014, it had a deficit of R440 crore while the figure was R500 crore for BYPL.
While DERC has put out an eight-year schedule for discharging R8,000 crore of the regulatory assets, the lenders are learnt to have said they need DERC to shorten the period by way of higher electricity tariffs.
When contacted, DERC chairman PD Sudhakar said, “We have clarified our position to PFC/REC... They appeared satisfied, but if they want more discussion, they can come.”
On the issue of whether the Rs 26,197 crore of regulatory assets — including TPDDL’s