The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is threatening to snap supply to two-thirds of Delhi by next week because the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani-backed BSES discoms have not settled a bill of Rs 900 crore for the power they purchased from the state-run generator.
In a stern notice to the discoms on Friday, NTPC said since all efforts of resolving the issue at the highest levels at BSES failed, large parts of Delhi would face severe power cuts from September 7.
"While talking to us, BSES said it is in poor financial health because tariff was not increased in Delhi for years and banks had stopped lending to them. We find it hard to believe because the other discom - the Tata-backed NDPL - always paid its dues on time," said a senior NTPC official.
The other two government-run utilities - New Delhi Municipal Council and MES, which supplies to Delhi Cantonment - have not defaulted on payment either.
Since the BSES discoms - Rajdhani and Yamuna - servicing south, west, central and east Delhi areas source 60% of their total power from NTPC, the huge shortfall of 2051MW will be practically impossible to make up through buying from other sources.
The Rs 900 crore is on account of power supplied in July and August. Of the Rs 814 crore due in July, NTPC could collect only Rs 334 crore through letter of credit. The rest, along with the subsequent unpaid bill of Rs 425 crore for August, took the total outstanding to Rs 900 crore.
"The tariff hike and the recovery of past dues happened last week. It is hard to believe that BSES still did not find any bank to borrow from," said the NTPC official. When contacted for a response, BSES said it was in talks with NTPC and bankers "for resolution of the issue."
A company statement read: "We stand committed to our 28lakh consumers and will make all efforts to ensure no inconvenience is caused."