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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Delhi: NTPC dishes out fresh bills to ‘cash-strapped’ power discoms

Neelam Pandey and Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 07, 2014
First Published: 13:32 IST(7/2/2014) | Last Updated: 13:34 IST(7/2/2014)

The deadlock over the impending power crisis shows no signs of being resolved. In a fresh turn of events, power generation company NTPC Ltd has slapped fresh bills on the two BSES discoms supplying power to over 3.2 million or 70% of consumers in Delhi.

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According to sources, the NTPC on February 5 issued a fresh bill of Rs. 324 crore (including Rs. 96 crore of previous outstanding dues) on BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) while BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) has been asked to pay up Rs. 368 crore in the next seven days.

The fresh bills came even as the two discoms approached the Supreme Court over the impending threat of NTPC to discontinue 2,000 mw of power supply from February 11.

The two discoms are already finding it difficult to pay the earlier bills isued by the NTPC. The new bills are only going to make the situation worse for them.

“The discoms have also failed to maintain adequate letter of credit (LCs), a payment security mechanism due to which NTPC was forced to take such a tough stand against the two discoms,” said a senior NTPC executive.

With no end to the impasse in sight and with neither the Delhi or the Central government coming to the rescue of the consumers, the dispute has cast its shadow on 70% consumers in the capital who will face blackouts if the discoms are unable to make the payment on time.

Nearly 3.2 million (or 32 lakh) consumers in central, south, east and west Delhi will be hit by a severe power shortage. The BSES spokesperson refused to comment on the fresh bills.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) held a meeting with the power discoms to discuss the situation and to find out whether they will be able to pay NTPC till February 11. The discoms have now sought time till Saturday.

“We met them in the morning and they have told us that efforts are being made to arrange for funds as soon as possible. They explained their financial situation at length. They have now sought time till Saturday and we will take a decision after that,” said PD Sudhakar, DERC chairman.

The power regulator has asked the Delhi government to appear on Saturday to explain the steps it took after a statutory advice was issued by DERC last year in February to the Delhi government asking them to talk to the Centre about allowing discoms benefits under government-sponsored schemes to tide over the financial difficulties.

The power regulator was also called by the Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to explain the current power crisis.

“We explained the current scenario to the Lt. Governor regarding the financial condition of the discoms and he told us to take action as per the law,” added Sudhakar.


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