NTPC, the bulk power provider to Delhi, on 01-05-2014 sought the Supreme Court's permission to begin regulated load shedding in the national capital, accusing two major power suppliers - Reliance ADAG's BSES Yamuna and Rajdhani - of not paying for the power they purchase for distribution.
Though the two firms claimed they had paid the major part of their dues, NTPC through senior advocate K K Venugopal said though the companies were run by one of the richest industrialists in India, it had not paid a penny since March 26 in blatant violation of apex court's orders. According to NTPC, the two BSES companies owe nearly Rs 800 crore.
Indirectly supporting the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government's decision to order audit of power distribution companies, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission through senior advocate Meet Malhotra said the commission had discovered huge discrepancies in the accounts of the BSES companies and apprehended that the demand for Rs 5,200 crore might have been inflated.
Appearing for BSES, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the companies had invested Rs 15,000 crore not in charity but in business and it must be allowed to recover its legitimate dues. He suggested a plan for recovery of the dues along with carrying cost.
"Nearly 75% of the payments received from these two firms go to Coal India Ltd from which NTPC buys coal. If the two companies do not pay, NTPC's Badarpur thermal plant will not be able to supply electricity to Delhi. Please vacate the interim order directing us to continue supplying power to Delhi. We want to start regulated cuts in power supply," Venugopal said.
With the mercury soaring over 40 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days, the demand for electricity has increased and power cuts at this juncture would hit people hard in Delhi.
While slamming BSES, NTPC was all praise for Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd for scrupulously paying all its dues to the power generator. Venugopal said, "The Tatas operate in the same condition as BSES yet they have not defaulted even a single penny." Appearing for the Centre, additional solicitor general Sidharth Luthra reiterated Venugopal's words.
Rohatgi maintained that BSES had cleared most of the dues and NTPC's demands were unjustified. The bench asked the counsel for NTPC and BSES to sit together and sort out the discrepancies in claims of payments by Monday. It posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
DERC also submitted a roadmap for recovery of the arrears for BSES companies but with a caveat that the accounts needed to be vetted closely as the figures appeared inflated. BSES had approached the apex court expressing its inability to carry on with its business given the non-cooperation of the Delhi government in recovering the arrears due to it and suggested that either the government pitched in with subsidy or it be allowed to increase the power tariff.