BSES moves SC, seeks restraint on NTPCs power cut ultimatum

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 7 2014, 06:45am hrs
BSESA disruption by NTPC, one of the key suppliers of power to the capital, could impact over 25 lakh customers
Anil Ambani group firms, BSES Rajdhani Power (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power (BYPL), on Thursday moved the Supreme Court against NTPC. In their plea, the discoms sought to restrain NTPC from cutting off power supplies to them for failing to clear outstanding dues of around R400 crore to the state-owned power generator.

The petitions come in the wake of NTPC having served notices to the two discoms last week, threatening to cumulatively regulate over 2,000 MW of supplies to them starting February 11 if the utilities failed to clear their dues. NTPC said the BSES utilities have been constantly defaulting in their payment security mechanism, and this time there are outstanding dues too.

On Monday, the Delhi government had asked DERC to ensure that electricity supply is not interrupted in the National Capital and also asked the regulator to be ready to suspend the discoms licence if they fail to provide electricity to consumers. The DERC subsequently served notices to the discoms, but an order by the appellate electricity tribunal on Wednesday asking the regulator to refrain from passing a final order in the matter without its consent during the pendency of a related matter gave temporary relief to the discoms.

A disruption by NTPC, one of the key suppliers of power to the capital, could impact over 25 lakh customers spread across the southern, eastern, central and western parts of Delhi. The discoms had earlier said that they would resort to large-scale load shedding if the power generator doesn't extend the credit facility.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam posted the matter for hearing on Friday after the utilities sought urgent hearing. Besides, NTPC and the power ministry, the two discoms have made Delhi government, Power grid Corporation, Delhi Electricity Regulatory commission (DERC), Delhi Power, National Hydro Power Corporation and Damodar Valley Corporation as parties in their petitions.

Stating that the petitions are sequel to the pending proceedings before the Supreme Court, counsel Sanjiv Sen argued that the petitions should be heard along with the other matter where BSES discoms have claimed that DERC had illegally retained their R15,000-crore regulatory assets.

While the utilities claimed that they do not have funds to pay NTPC or other power producers for power supplied in January 2014, they want protection of the investments made by them and the assured return from the licensed business".

BRPL pointed out that against an admitted dues of R5,206 crore, which have been deferred, their outstanding dues to its suppliers stand at R1,071 crore. Asking to restrain NTPC from taking any coercive steps till the apex court determined the appropriate mechanism for adjusting its dues against the amounts which DERC owes them, the utilities have sought a direction to DERC to give effect to the deferred cost created as regulatory asset in accordance with the Tariff Policy.