SC tells NTPC not to snap power, settle dispute with discoms

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 02, 2014 01:00 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and private discoms to reconcile their dispute over the dues to be paid by the two Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) power distribution companies - BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) - before the next hearing.

Asking NTPC not to snap power supply to BSES, a bench of Justice SS Nijjar and Justice AK Sikri gave the direction after the state-owned power utility said BSES hadn’t cleared its dues as the per SC March 26 order. The court had then directed BSES to make the payments of more than Rs 800 crore for their dues from January 1 to March 31. NTPC claimed no money had come so far.

NTPC promised not to cut the power supply but said it would have to regulate it as per coal supply. This could mean Delhi may suffer frequent power cuts this summer. At one point, it even sought vacation or modification of the March order staying NTPC’s decision to cut the power supply to BSES.

The two distribution companies in Delhi had moved the court in February after NTPC threatened to stop power supply over non-payment of electricity charges by the discoms to the tune of Rs 818 crore. They refuted NTPC’s claim, saying BRPL had paid Rs 601 crore to it.

NTPC senior counsel KK Venugopal said the Tata-owned distribution companies had made regular payments and only BSES was in default. “Don’t make us victims if BSES doesn’t have capacity to run the business,” he argued, adding the amount was “a drop in the ocean” for the Ambani group.

Stating that NTPC apprehended Coal India might cut supply if money wasn’t paid, Venugopal said the corporation has to pay 75% money in advance to Coal India. “It is being taken for granted by BSES,” he added.

The bench, however, said it was necessary that figures of amounts due and paid were reconciled by the two parties. It fixed May 6 to hear the matter further.

Delhi Government too claimed BSES owed about Rs 4,500 crore to it. Its counsel said the Tata-owned discoms had, however, made the payments. Counsel for PowerGrid also complained BSES had paid only Rs 4 crore out of Rs 160 crore dues.

The allegations were refuted by BSES, which contended that the Delhi government owed Rs 15,000 crore to the firms and they need the money first to pay others.

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