Total outstanding dues owed by electricity distribution companies (discoms) to power producers increased by 17.3 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,23,244 crore in April 2022, as per official data.
Discoms owed a total of Rs 1,05,029 crore to power generation firms in April 2021, according to portal PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators). On a sequential basis too, total dues in April 2022 increased from Rs 1,17,390 crore in March 2022.
The PRAAPTI portal was launched in May 2018 to bring in transparency in power purchase transactions between generators and discoms.
In April 2022, the total overdue amount, which was not cleared even after 45 days of grace period offered by generators, stood at Rs 1,04,885 crore as against Rs 84,376 crore in the same month a year ago. The overdue amount stood at Rs 1,03,331 crore in March 2022.
Power producers give 45 days to discoms to pay bills for electricity supply. After that, outstanding dues become overdue and generators charge penal interest on that in most cases. To give relief to power generation companies (gencos), the Centre enforced a payment security mechanism from August 1, 2019.
Under this mechanism, discoms are required to open letters of credit for getting power supply. The Centre had also given some breather to discoms for paying dues to gencos in view of the COVID-19-induced lockdown. The government had also waived penal charges for the late payment of dues.
In May 2020, the government had announced a Rs 90,000-crore liquidity infusion for discoms under which these utilities got loans at economical rates from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and REC Ltd. This was a government initiative to help gencos remain afloat.
Later, the liquidity infusion package was increased to Rs 1.2 lakh crore and further to Rs 1.35 lakh crore. Discoms in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu account for the major portion of dues to gencos in April, the data showed.
Overdues of independent power producers amounted to 55.63 per cent of the total overdue of Rs 1,04,885 crore of discoms. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 21.84 per cent.
Among the central public sector gencos, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of Rs 4,223.50 crore, followed by DVC at Rs 3,571.83 crore and NPCIL – Kundankulam Nuclear Power Plant at Rs 3,179.13 crore in April 2022. Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue amount of Rs 25,586.73 crore to Adani Power, followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company at Rs 5,309.29 crore.
The overdue of renewable energy producers stood at Rs 20,827.22 crore in April 2022.