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Averting a blackout in the capital next week, the Supreme Court on Friday directed state-owned NTPC not to disconnect power supply to two Reliance Infrastructure-owned distribution companies until March 26. However, it directed the power distribution companies — BSES Rajdhani Power (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power (BYPL) — to pay R50 crore to NTPC within two weeks.
NTPC had threatened to snap the power supply to the two firms after February 10 if they failed to pay up R96 crore.
Coming on top of Wednesday’s appellate electricity authority directive to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to not suspend the licences of the two discoms without its consent during the pendency of a related matter before it, the SC direction amounted to more relief for the two Anil Ambani-backed companies.
The two discoms have been pressing for expeditious liquidation of their regulatory assets (deferred revenues) and faster release of subsidy amounts by the state government to be able to pay up the dues to NTPC and other generators.
Earlier, acting under a state government directive to be prepared for suspension of the discoms’ licences, the DERC had served notices to the discoms.
A disruption of supplies by NTPC, one of the key suppliers of power to the capital, could have impacted over 25 lakh consumers spread across the southern, eastern, central and western parts of Delhi.
The Delhi government on Monday had asked DERC to revoke the distributors’ licences if they halted electricity supply.
A bench comprising justices SS Nijjar and AK Sikri also asked the Union power ministry, NTPC, the Delhi government, Power Grid Corporation, DERC, NHPC and Damodar Valley Corporation to respond to the utilities petitions by February 21.
While directing NTPC to maintain supply until March 26, the next hearing, it observed that “finally, the consumer would be the sufferer. We have to think about them.”
BRPL's last letter of credit was encashed on January 31, leaving a shortfall of Rs 27l.61 crore. There is a payment shortfall of Rs 96.07 crore in the case of BYPL. The present allocation of power from NTPC is 1,261 MW for BRPL and 811 MW for BYPL.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the distribution companies, submitted that the Delhi government is not paying Rs 15,000 crore it owed to the firms as regulatory assets and its recent move to audit the firms was politically motivated.
BRPL in its petition pointed out that against the regulatory assets of