UP discoms’ dues to state-run gencos reach staggering Rs 17,000 cr

By: |
May 14, 2021 2:30 AM

Though the Centre’s liquidity infusion scheme under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package helped these discoms to bring down their dues to central public sector units (CPSUs) and independent power producers (IPPS) down from Rs 27,000 crore to Rs 5,688 crore at the end of March 2021, the dues remain staggeringly high.

Reserves for frequency support are of three types – primary, secondary and tertiary.Reserves for frequency support are of three types – primary, secondary and tertiary.

The Uttar Pradesh electricity distribution companies (discoms) dues to the state-run generation utilities, such as Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (UPRVUNL), UP Power Transmission Corporation (UPTCL) and UP Jal Vidyut Nigam have soared to Rs 17,000 crore.

Though the Centre’s liquidity infusion scheme under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package helped these discoms to bring down their dues to central public sector units (CPSUs) and independent power producers (IPPS) down from Rs 27,000 crore to Rs 5,688 crore at the end of March 2021, the dues remain staggeringly high.

Speaking to FE, M Devaraj, chairman of UPPCL as well as the three-state utilities, said that while the discoms owed UPRVUNL Rs 10,500 crore, the dues of UPTCL stand at Rs 5,800 crore and that of UPJVN’s at Rs 650 crore. It may be mentioned that UPRVUNL is a wholly-owned state thermal power company, having a generating capacity of 5474 MW. It operates four thermal power stations within the state, Anpara, Obra, Harduaganj and Parichha.

“Depending on fund availability, we try to give money to the state gencos, too, to meet their requirements, but ultimately everything boils down to revenue. The more revenue we get from the consumers, the more we can pass it on to the different generators,” Devaraj said.

UPPCL’s total expenses, including O&M, is around Rs 77,000 crore per annum, against which it gets a government subsidy of around Rs 12,000 crore. The power purchase cost comes to around Rs 60,000 crore per annum, against this, the revenue mopped up is approximate Rs 40,000 crore per annum.

“There is usually a gap of Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 1,500 crore per month between the power purchase cost and the revenue realized from the consumers. With the current revenue, it’s challenging to even meet the salaries of the employees. So, mopping up revenue is our biggest challenge. For that, we are also trying to track unmetered consumers and those consumers who have never paid bills. But, in the present Covid scenario, we cannot do much. Our main focus right now is to maintain supply. Once things improve, we will start focusing on other things,” said Devraj, adding that while the peak demand for power is roughly around 20,000 MW, the mix of consumers has changed due to Covid-19.

“Most commercial establishments are closed now, and there is more demand from the domestic side, which is a subsidised sector. Hence, meeting the revenue targets has become all the more difficult,” he added.

Speaking to FE on the condition of anonymity, an official of the UPRVUN said that the UPPCL releases as much money to the entity as is necessary to meet its basic needs. “Only that much amount is released as is required to run a powerhouse, including money for coal, establishment cost, funds for O&M and bank loan repayments for the new projects that are in the works, such as Anpara D, Parichcha, Harduaganj extension, etc,” he said, adding that while a lot of pressure is exerted to clear the dues of the CPSUs and IPPS, no one seems to be bothered about clearing the dues of state gencos, mainly because it is an in-house entity.

Interestingly, while all the generating companies get 14% return of equity (RoE), UPRVUNL’s RoE is only 2%. “Since the equity belongs to the government, the board of directors of UPRVUN decided a couple of years back that it will take only 2% RoE,” the source said, requesting anonymity.

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