Vedanta, Orissa govt in Rs.700-cr power bill dispute

Written by feBureau | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Nov 7 2012, 07:42am hrs
A dispute has surfaced between the London-based Vedanta Group and the Orissa government over settlement of R700-crore power bills.

Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal in his recent meeting with the chief minister Naveen Patnaik raised the issue of R700-crore arrear pending with government-owned utility company, Gridco. He urged the CM that the Gridco be directed to settle the R700-crore bills raised by his group immediately.

Gridco, which is the sole bulk buyer of power in the state, however, has said that the actual arrear is R240 crore, and not R700 crore.

Veadanta Groups company Sterlite Energy had set up a 2,400 MW thermal power plant (IPP) at Orissas Jharsuguda with an investment of R10,000 crore. One of the units is dedicated to the state grid with a power purchase agreement signed between the Sterlite Energy and the Gridco.

Its Vedanta Aluminium (VAL) also set up a captive power plant (CPP) of 600 MW for the smelter plant at Jharsuguda. Vedanta had pumped power from both the IPP and the CPP to the state grid to bail out the state government during the power crisis during the last summer.

The Vedanta Group has raised a bill of R700 crore towards the power supplied to the state grid.

Gridco director (commerce) PK Pradhan told FE that the amount raised by Sterlite Energy is not acceptable as it is not based on actual tariffs. Since the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission is yet to come out with the tariff order, it would not be proper on the party of the generating company to raise a bill like this, he said.

Vedanta has raised the bill charging R3.42 per units of power supplied from the IPP against the OERCs order fixing the rate at R2.75 per unit, said Pradhan. This indicates the bill is padded by R350 crore. Actual dues could be arrived at after the final tariff order is out.