Delhi power crisis: Supreme Court agrees to hear Reliance Infra-owned BSES's plea against NTPC 'ultimatum'

Written by FE Online | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 6 2014, 18:11pm hrs
Delhi power crisisBSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani are seeking time-bound faster liquidation of their mounting regulatory assets amounting to Rs 15,000 crore to recover past dues.
Reliance Infratel-owned power distribution companies (discoms) in Delhi today approached the Supreme Court against NTPC's notice threatening to cut off power supply for not clearing outstanding dues.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, before whom the matter was mentioned for an urgent hearing, listed the case for tomorrow. The counsel appearing for BSES submitted that a matter connected to this case is coming up for hearing tomorrow and pleaded that its fresh plea be also heard with it. The bench agreed to the plea and posted the case hearing tomorrow.

State-run power generator NTPC had, on February 1, issued notices to the two Anil Ambani-owned distribution companies to cough up dues owed by them or face suspension of power supply. After issuing notices to BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, NTPC had on February 4 said it was in trouble and unless its dues are cleared, the company may have to stop power supply to these discoms.

NTPC Chairman and Managing Director had said if they were not paid in time, they will have to regulate nearly 2,000 MW of power.

These bills, due to BSES Rajdhani and Yamuna, are for the amount of power consumed in December and billed in January to be payable by the end of January.

NTPC had said that currently there was no letter of credit available for the two companies.

BSES Rajdhani's last letter of credit was encashed on January 31, leaving a shortfall of Rs 27l.61 crore. There is a payment shortfall of Rs 96.07 crore on BSES Yamuna.

For the capitals 2.5 million consumers the two firms supply power to three-fourths of the citys 3.4 million consumers tribunal order has only heightened the uncertainty. The prospect of 10-hour power cuts from February 10 continues to look real. With the state government firm on not allowing any tariff hike and in the absence of third-party protection audit with the state (under which many other states pay the suppliers of power under state allocation) the DERC has few options before it.

In a temporary relief to Delhis two Reliance Infra-owned discoms facing imminent suspension of their licences by the regulator under a state government directive, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel) on Wednesday had asked the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to desist from passing any final orders on the matter without its leave during the pendency of a related case before it.

The Aptel order has posed a hurdle for the Arvind Kejriwal-led government which had on Monday sent a missive to the regulator asking it to be battle-ready for a possible suspension of the licences of the two discoms BSES Yamuna Power and BSES Rajdhani Power in case they, claiming financial difficulties, resort to long outages in large parts of the city.

BSES Rajdhani distributes power to over 18.5 lakh customers in south and west Delhi, including Alaknanda, Vasant Kunj, Saket, Nehru Place, Nizamuddin, Sarita Vihar, Hauz Khas, R K Puram, Janakpuri, Punjabi Bagh, Tagore Garden, Vikas Puri, Palam and Dwarka, according to its website.

BSES Yamuna has 13.5 lakh customers in central and east Delhi, including Chandni Chowk, Daryaganj, Paharganj, Shankar Road, Patel Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Laxmi Nagar, Mayur Vihar and Yamuna Vihar. (With PTI inputs)