Discoms cry pauper
Delhi’s private power distributors have said they do not have enough money to buy power for the ensuing summer months thanks to an unprecedented cash crunch, reports Avishek G Dastidar.delhi Updated: Mar 17, 2010 23:38 IST
Delhi’s private power distributors have said they do not have enough money to buy power for the ensuing summer months thanks to an unprecedented cash crunch.
In letters written to Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the chief executive officers of discoms North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL), BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna have sounded an “SOS” claiming last year’s torrid summer and the subsequent power crisis increased their power purchase cost by at least 30 per cent and messed up their numbers for good.
Painting the picture of an impending doom in a year that hosts the Commonwealth Games, the CEOs have said a combined revenue shortfall of over Rs 1000 crore this financial year has left them broke.
This comes a day after the Delhi government tabled in the Assembly balance sheets of the three discoms showing healthy profits.
“As per our earlier projections, we were supposed to have a surplus of over Rs 200 crore by the end of this financial year. But the turn of events were such that now we actually have a shortfall of over Rs 500 crore,” said an NDPL spokesman.
“We do not have the money to make weekly payments to power suppliers in the coming months.”
Gopal Saxena, BSES Rajdhani, too, had a similar grouse. “The overall increase in our power purchase cost was up by Rs 738 crore,” his letter read. His counterpart at NDPL, Sunil Wadhwa, wrote, “It is adversely affecting our ability to carry on operations effectively.”
For the average power consumer, this means the discoms have added one more set of reasons to their demand for a steep hike in tariff.
The discoms have been appealing to the DERC for a power tariff hike for quite sometime now. Through these letters, discoms are seeking an “out of turn” return on investment carried out between April and December 2009.
As per rules, only audited figures of a whole financial year are taken into consideration in the tariff order. But discoms are seeking a change claiming last year was exceptional.
According to the CEOs, the cash crunch has also affected their companies’ ability to raise funds from the market.
“Lenders will withdraw support unless they see clear signs of improvement in our revenue generating capacity,” Saxena said, seeking “any appropriate measure the DERC may deem fit to mitigate the cash crisis”.
Recently the Delhi government submitted to the Supreme Court fresh figures claiming the city would be power surplus this summer onwards.