SC notice to DERC on BSES plea

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 20 2014, 06:15am hrs
The Supreme Court on Friday sought reply from state utilities on a petition filed by Delhi discoms seeking adjustment of the government subsidy payout to clear their current dues and not against the outstanding dues as directed by the electricity tribunal in May.

A bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha, while seeking reply from Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission and state utilities Indraprastha Power Generation Company, Pragati Power Company and Delhi Transco refused to stay the contempt petition filed against the discoms allegedly for failing to clear the current dues as directed by the Supreme Court.

Earlier, the court had sought reply from the brass of Delhis power distributors, including BSES Yamuna Power (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power (BRPL) chairman and president Lalit Jalan, BYPL CEO Arbind Gujral and BRPL CEO Gopal Saxena, on a contempt plea filed by Damodar Valley Corporation seeking recovery of over R900-crore outstanding dues for drawing electricity since 2011.

DVC had in May said the two companies had wilfully disobeyed the apex courts October 2011 order that asked them to continue paying current charges as per their contracts.

BSES firms on Friday had challenged the May order of Aptel that asked the discoms to make payment to the generating and transmission firms for the current dues from January 1 regularly as directed by the Supreme Court.

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity had held that the amount of government subsidy and UI amounts (overdrawal charges) credited to the state generating companies have been correctly adjusted against the outstanding dues but not against the current dues from January to March 2014 as per the directions of the Delhi government.

Seeking quashing of the tribunals order, BSES companies said the tribunal had failed to consider the fact that the issue of payment, non-payment of dues and amortisation of Regulatory Asset is already pending before the Supreme Court, which is looking into the discoms plea to determine appropriate mechanism for adjusting the dues owed by BYPL to Central and State Generating and Transmission Utilities from the amounts due and owed to BYPL as Regulatory Asset.

The discoms have expressed inability to make timely payments under the PPAs on account of failure of the state commission to provide cost reflective tariff and huge regulatory assets, which have accumulated on this account. According to Ambani firms, Aptel failed to consider that in terms of Section 65 of the Electricity Act, 2003, once the subsidy amount is sanctioned, the state government has to pay the subsidy amount to the distribution licensee who can utilise the subsidy amount in any manner it deems fit, the companies said.

The tribunal order had come on a petition filed by state-owned generating companies, which had challenged the DERCs November 2013 order for setting up an empowered committee to look into optimal utilisation of the funds recovered by the discoms, BYPL and BRPL.