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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Discoms ‘can’t pay’, Delhi faces power cuts

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 20, 2014
First Published: 00:46 IST(20/5/2014) | Last Updated: 02:26 IST(20/5/2014)

Power distribution companies — BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) — on Monday hinted at the possibility of power-cuts in Delhi this summer.

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“There may not be any power till July. We will have to work in darkness,” the companies’ counsel senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told a vacation bench of the Supreme Court, which declined his request to implement a 2013 appellate tribunal direction to power regulator DERC to increase the tariff. The apex court has stayed the tribunal order after DERC challenged it.

BRPL and BYPL have to pay `788 crore to power generator NTPC by May 31. In case of a failure, the corporation can regulate power supply to them.

Claiming that implementation of the appellate tribunal’s order could enable them to repay NTPC, as it will minimise the revenue gap the companies have apparently suffered due to incorrect tariff regime, the discoms moved an application asking SC to vacate its stay order.

A bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice AK Sikri, however, declined relief even as Rohatgi argued his clients were in a financial crunch. It posted the matter to July 3, saying vacation of its stay order would amount rendering DERC’s appeal infructuous. A notice was, however, issued to the regulator.

In their application BYPL and BRPL complained of how the DERC had not allowed them to recover their losses from tariffs. Also, the Delhi government has further caused prejudice to their case as it has threatened to take punitive action against them if they did not pay to the generating and transmission companies.

“It is submitted that Delhi Commission has contended that it has provided the petitioner (companies) with a cost reflective tariff for 2013-14, which is sufficient to meet the current cost. However, it has failed to take into account that in order to bridge the revenue gap in the past period the applicant has taken loans along with interest which have to be repaid in the current financial years,” the application read.

A bench of Justice SS Nijjar and Justice AK Sikri had on May 6 declined BSES request to grant it time till July-end despite the company submitting it will go bust or might have to “beg, borrow or steal”.

Together, the companies owe `788 crore of which BRPL has to pay Rs. 358 crore and BYPL Rs. 430 crore. The amount was arrived at by a consensus between NTPC and BSES officials during a meeting held a day before the last hearing after the SC asked both to reconcile their differences over the dues.


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