Maharashtra discom’s dues to wind energy firms rise to Rs 2,000 crore

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Mumbai | Published: July 18, 2018 4:48:12 AM

Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company’s (MSEDCL’s) dues to wind energy firms have risen to Rs 2,000 crore on account of poor recovery from customers even as its distribution losses got reduced to 13% in FY18, from 17% a year ago. MSEDCL’s dues had dropped to Rs 440 crore in August 2017 after it reached a high of around Rs 3,000 crore in early 2017.

Some of the major wind developers in Maharashtra are Continuum Wind, ReNew Power, Sembcorp, Panama Wind Energy and Greenko Energy. (Representational image: Reuters)

Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company’s (MSEDCL’s) dues to wind energy firms have risen to Rs 2,000 crore on account of poor recovery from customers even as its distribution losses got reduced to 13% in FY18, from 17% a year ago. MSEDCL’s dues had dropped to Rs 440 crore in August 2017 after it reached a high of around Rs 3,000 crore in early 2017.

Sanjeev Kumar, chairman, MSEDCL, told FE, although distribution losses came down in FY18, collection or recoveries from various segments such as agriculture was a problem. “Despite the improvement in agricultural recoveries to 23% from 16% earlier, it is still low and has affected our financial ability to pay the dues to wind energy producers. We have total dues of Rs 2,000 crore towards the wind energy producers,” Kumar said.

Some of the major wind developers in Maharashtra are Continuum Wind, ReNew Power, Sembcorp, Panama Wind Energy and Greenko Energy.

A ratings agency analyst, on conditions of anonymity, said, “This is a recurring problem and has discouraged further investments in Maharashtra due to liquidity problems faced by wind developers. Most of these developers now want the projects to come under SECI bids apprehending slow response under state government auctions.”

The discom in the last two years, since joining the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), has improved its overall performance and reduced distribution losses. “We have fixed the accountability of officers, conducted energy audits on an everyday basis and invested in infrastructure. The 4% reduction in distribution losses — from 17% to 13% — translates into Rs 2,000 crore in earnings. Online payments through various apps have also increased customer convenience. Around 60% of our payments happen online now,” Kumar said.

Around 2 crore or 80% customers have registered their mobile numbers with MSEDCL and get regular updates on payments, meter readings, etc. The discom received around Rs 150 crore or 2% of interest benefit on its medium-term loan of around Rs 5,000-6000 crore under UDAY. The discom has also benefitted from a Maharashtra government grant of Rs 990 crore which it will get for five years from FY17-FY22, Kumar said.

According to the Power Finance Corporation’s report on the performance of state utilities, MSEDCL had accumulated losses worth Rs 7,087 crore as of March 31, 2015.

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