The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay an electricity tribunal’s order that allowed Reliance Power-promoted Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) to recover dues worth Rs 1,050 crore from seven state utilities and Tata Power.
A bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman sought response from Sasan UMPP on a batch of appeals filed by All India Power Engineers Federation, Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam, MP Power Management Company, Haryana Power Generation Corporation (now Haryana Power Purchase Centre), UP Power Corporation, Punjab State Power Corporation, Tata Power Distribution and Tata Power Delhi Distribution. They challenged the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity’s March 31 order that upheld Sasan Power’s commercial operational date (COD) claim for the first unit of 660 MW to be March 31, 2013, thus paving way for the UMPP to recover dues to the tune of Rs 1,050 crore from the procurers.
The 4000-MW Sasan UMPP, located in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh, is an integrated power plant-cum-coal mining project at a single location, involving an investment of over Rs 27,000 crore.
Senior counsel CA Sundaram and Dushyant Dave told the court that the generating unit should not take any coercive steps like disconnecting electricity supply to the utilities. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal appeared for the UMPP.
The state utilities stated that as per the terms of the PPAs, the condition of successful performance test of a generating unit is when it achieves 95% of the contracted capacity of 620 MW on a sustained and continuous running of the unit for 72 hours. They further said Sasan had declared the COD on the “flawed performance test and certificate” and the declaration of the COD on March 31, 2013 was done by Sasan with a malafide intention of making unlawful gain in exhausting the low first-year tariff in one day and claiming higher second-year tariff with effect from April 1, 2014 instead of the low first-year tariff from 2013-14.
“Sasan had obviously not fulfilled the condition for declaring the commercial operation of Unit No. 3 with the performance test undertaken at 101.38 MW (approximately 15%) as against the requirement to establish the achievement of 589 MW being 95% of the contracted capacity of 620.4 MW. The performance test also did not satisfy certain other technical parameters like ramping of the generating station and other parameters of super-critical technology such as steam pressure, steam temperature, reheat temperature as was taken note of by the Independent Engineer in its certificate of March 30,2013,” Ajmer Vidyut Nigam stated in its SLP.
It further said there can be no waiver unless it is expressed in writing by the authorised representative.